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How Our Export Market Just Disproved Big Oil’s Solution for Energy Independence

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How often have we all heard that the number one solution to America’s energy woes is to drill for more oil, to open up all our government-owned land (including parks and wildernesses and environmentally sensitive areas) to drilling? Well, check out this little note from USA Today:

The U.S. exported more oil-based fuels than it imported in the first nine months of this year, making it likely that 2011 will be the first time since 1949 that the nation is a net exporter of such goods, primarily diesel. That’s not all. The U.S. has reversed another decades-long trend. It began producing more crude oil in 2008 than the year before and accelerated that upswing 3% in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 2010. That production has helped reduce U.S. imports of crude oil by about 10% since 2006. “It’s dramatic. It’s transformative,” Edward Morse, a former senior U.S. energy official who now directs global commodities research at Citigroup, says of the historic shifts. He says the U.S. is importing a smaller share – 49% in 2010, down from 60% in 2005 – of the oil it uses, adding: “We’re moving toward energy independence.”

Wow! Sounds really good for America, doesn’t it? We’re now a net oil exporter rather than a net oil importer, and that’s a good thing, since it makes us less independent on oil from the Middle East and we’re obviously moving towards energy independence, right? Right?

From the Associated Press:

For the first time, the top export of the United States, the world’s biggest gas guzzler, is – wait for it – fuel. Measured in dollars, the nation is on pace this year to ship more gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel than any other single export, according to U.S. Census data going back to 1990. It will also be the first year in more than 60 that America has been a net exporter of these fuels. Just how big of a shift is this? A decade ago, fuel wasn’t even among the top 25 exports. And for the last five years, America’s top export was aircraft.

Now can anyone tell me exactly how “drill baby drill” is going to give us energy independence when our biggest export is oil? And this is not something the government can fix, because the government cannot tell Big Oil that they have to sell enough oil stateside to provide for all America’s fuel needs before they can export any oil. Our government and the world market is simply not set up that way, which means that it doesn’t matter how much oil is drilled in American territory, Big Oil will export the oil if they can get more for it overseas before they will even consider America’s energy needs. So much for the ‘patriotism’ of Big Oil.

And to reinforce the point, the second reference above also had this to say:

There’s at least one domestic downside to America’s growing role as a fuel exporter. Experts say the trend helps explain why U.S. motorists are paying more for gasoline. The more fuel that’s sent overseas, the less of a supply cushion there is at home. Gasoline supplies are being exported to the highest bidder, says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service. “It’s a world market,” he says. Refining companies won’t say how much they make by selling fuel overseas. But analysts say those sales are likely generating higher profits per gallon than they would have generated in the U.S. Otherwise, they wouldn’t occur.

Since we are now a net energy exporter, America could be energy independent today. Our gas prices could fall today. Our prices in the grocery stores and the malls could fall today. Maybe Michelle Bachmann was right that we could have $2.00 gasoline once more, but even if she’d been elected in a landslide, she could never have made that happen. Why? Again, our government does not have that kind of authority over the market, and our domestic and global markets are simply not set up that way.

So the big lie is exposed. Drilling our way to energy independence was a pipe dream, a grand scale fantasy, just as we liberals always said it was. The only way to gain true energy independence for America is through alternative energy and increased efficiency.

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About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • WOW! Glenn, we agree on something! That’s very scary!!!

    Concerning this article, you conclude with this: “So the big lie is exposed. Drilling our way to energy independence was a pipe dream, a grand scale fantasy, just as we liberals always said it was. The only way to gain true energy independence for America is through alternative energy and increased efficiency.” While I ultimately agree with you, I must take exception with your present reasoning. Like it or not, the world currently runs on oil. Alternative energy is currently the “pipe dream,” the “fantasy.” I challenge you to cite even one alternative energy source or company that exists without government subsidies. The same challenge is extended for increased efficiency, and I mean real game changers that reduce oil consumption, not just manufacturer claims or increased efficiency at the expense of consumers. Until free market enterprise develops alternative energy sources without government subsidies, we are “stuck” with oil.

    Regarding oil exportation, I have approached it from a different perspective. Please watch for my article coming soon, assuming Blogcritics publishes it. BTW, I wrote my article before I saw yours.

    BTW2, can I ask you where in the very deepest of the deep south you were raised?

  • Glenn Contrarian


    1 – The very deepest of the Deep South? That would be Sunflower County, MS, the deepest part of the MS Delta, eleven miles from the home of B.B. King (and where I went to an all-white private school in a 71% black county), and five miles from the (now-nonexistent) home of James O. Eastland, a family acquaintance who was twice president pro tem and was for a generation the most powerful racist in the nation (and who was the driving force behind the White Citizens Council AND the aforementioned all-white school).

    2. I also wrote and submitted my article before I saw yours – which is why they both appeared pretty much at the same time. We’re even in that respect.

    3. If you’ll do some research, you’ll find that

    (1) the newest solar cells are more efficient than nuclear power (which I also support),

    (2) Solyndra went bust NOT because of its own problems, but because China has cornered the world market on solar cells thanks to the massive government subsidies they’ve given their manufacturers in order to offer solar panels more cheaply than we can,

    (3) Upgrading the efficiency of buildings (like replacing windows with double-pane, and so forth) pays for itself within a few years. If you think this isn’t a big deal, eighty percent of the energy used in Manhattan is from heating/cooling buildings. Anyway, upgrading government buildings was one of the big things that Obama tried to push through Congress (along with upgrading our badly out-of-date power grid)…and who blocked it? The REPUBLICANS, of course.

    (4) If alternative energy is such a pipe dream, then why is the most capitalistic major nation on earth – China – investing so heavily in solar power? Why, also, is the strongest economy in Europe – Germany (whose economy is STILL strong – investing so heavily in solar power? Because it WORKS.

    (5) AND if you’ll remember, Big Oil is also receiving BILLIONS in subsidies as well, every single year, even as they’re making record profits – so your point about subsidies…isn’t what you thought it was.

    Like I said, we can be energy-independent TODAY if we could use the oil that we’re drilling in America…but the market doesn’t work that way, and the government has no power to make it do otherwise. That’s why ‘drill-baby-drill’ was and is a fantasy. Always was, always will be.

  • WOW, Glenn! I have friends in Indianolia, Greenwood, and Ruleville. And I well remember Senator James O. Eastland and his cohort, John C. Stennis (who, BTW has an aircraft carrier named after him). Plus Stennis is/was a fellow MSU alumunus. I am originally from Jackson County.

    Here is the link to my article that is similar to yours. This article was never featured/shown at Blogcritics. We used many common resources, but reached entirely different conclusions. Your thoughts are solicited.

    I am most interested in how you, as an ex-conservative, converted to liberalism/progressiveism. Was the conversion an epiphany, or was it a long, slow preocess? Will you share your thoughts?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Warren –

    THAT is scary. I also went to MSU for a year (the year We Beat the Bear) and joined the Navy after my family couldn’t afford to keep sending me there. I went to school at Indianola Academy for a year, then to Ruleville the next year (which happened to be the year that Roots was broadcast on WABG), and graduated from Shaw High School over in Bolivar County. You and I probably know some of the same people, so please don’t take any offense when I won’t mention who they are.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Warren –

    To this day I hold Reagan as being one of our five greatest presidents – and I’ve said that many times on this blog. I voted for him twice, and Bush 41 once. I still wouldn’t mind voting for Bush 41 today – he showed enough gumption and courage that he was willing to slash the military and raise taxes…which IMO is a significant part of what enabled Clinton’s economic boom and the surplus that followed.

    Here’s a significant part of the reason why I am no longer a conservative, because too many modern conservatives (mostly represented by the Republicans) still do not really reject racism; indeed, many still embrace it, as evidenced by the Pew Poll last year that found that 46% percent of MS Republicans still thought interracial marriages should be banned.

    But the majority of the reason came with Clinton’s election. I had been in the Navy for 11 years at that point, and all of a sudden I heard, “He’s not my president”, and one southern senator even publicly stated that Clinton had better not visit the military bases in his state because he wouldn’t be able to guarantee the president’s safety. What ticked me off is that our oh-so-patriotic Republican party did not chastise the senator, but backed him up! That ticked me off.

    Then I saw good people discharged because they were gay/lesbian – yes, Clinton supported ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, but refusing rights to LGBT’s is a Republican position. And in all honesty, I see zero difference between prejudice against LGBT’s and outright racism…because someone who is prejudiced against any one group will be a lot more likely to be prejudiced against other groups. All that is required is that said group is different in some way from himself.

    I saw the evangelicals (all Republican) supporting teaching creationism in schools and claiming that evolution is questionable, and conservatives in general denying climate change despite what the vast majority of the world’s scientists tell them. I am of a scientific bent, and when an entire political party rejects what the scientists are trying to tell them, well, that doesn’t sit right with me.

    In other words, it seemed that more and more, the Republican party not only became tolerant not of ethnic groups or religions, but of outright ignorance, but refuses to hold its own accountable when they are clearly wrong. All that is required is that they kowtow to party dogma. It now seems that a conservative can say almost anything regardless of how factually wrong it is, and no one among the Republican party will correct him as long as what he said is in accordance with party dogma.

    Reagan once said that the Democratic party left him. Well, IMO the Republican party left me.

  • Glenn, it is indeed ironic that you should support the most racist regime in history. And this is not just my opinion – please read this source.

    Regarding homosexuals, is it now permissible, in the name of LGBT idiology, to force our wishes on other countries? And to spend taxpayer money doing it? See this source.

    In your profile, you state that you are a “Strong Christian.” How do you reconcile that with homosexuality? See this source and this source. Also see this source.

    You state, “I saw the evangelicals (all Republican)….” Please refer to this source.

    Finally, you offer two opinions in one statement: Speaking about Republicans, you state, “…refuses to hold its own accountable when they are clearly wrong.” Regarding either/both statements, can you offer any sources to strengthen your opinions?

    I am not saying that Republicans are perfect. Just remember, if you point your finger (with no substantion), there are three more fingers pointing back at you!

  • zingzing

    warren: “Glenn, it is indeed ironic that you should support the most racist regime in history. And this is not just my opinion – please read this source.”

    yes, it’s your opinion and you swallowed it whole hog. then it came out again as utter shit. i suppose an all-white “regime” never made any mistakes. because white people are infallible or something. seriously, get a grip on yourself.

    “Regarding homosexuals, is it now permissible, in the name of LGBT idiology, to force our wishes on other countries? And to spend taxpayer money doing it?”

    if that’s what you get out of it… although that would be incredibly silly. and probably bigoted, but it’s hard to get inside your head.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Warren, have you seen your sources? Do you have any thoughts of your own or do you just intend to reference Wikipedia and other broad sources?

    A “strong Christian” and any strong human being can (and should) advocate for equal rights for all human beings regardless of sexual orientation – even when that flies in the face of Paul’s support for some rather reprehensible shit.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Also, do you really think it’s just “LGBT idiology” to suggest that “it is a ‘violation of human rights’ to commit violence or discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation?

    That is part of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, not some covert “gay agenda” ideology, Warren. Should the USA, as a self-proclaimed “world leader,” simply look the other way when it comes to violence against the marginalized?

    Would you have preferred Clinton to have said nothing so “controversial” as to mention that it is a “violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave?” Is that also part of the “LGBT idiology” that a “strong Christian” should oppose, Warren?

  • So Jackson’s overseeing The Trail of Tears isn’t as racist as Obama hiring black people you don’t like for a few jobs?

    I can’t tell if you are just trying to undermine the President any way you can or if you really are as ignorant as you appear.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    There are those whose prejudice is so great that anything – anything at all! – they say against those they hate must be (in their minds) the truth.

    Warren’s no exception. He knows where I came from, and that tells me that he knows exactly what most of the whites there are like…and his wild-eyed accusations above tell me that he is much more similar to those whites than he feels he can admit here…

    …for that’s where the wild-eyed accusations above come from. He doesn’t realize that he just exposed himself for the rest of us to see.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    For Warren –

    If gays were forbidden by God, then there should only have been men and women and nothing in between, right? Problem is, there’s also hermaphrodites born with both male and female genitalia…and as long as it happened even ONCE, that disproves the ‘only men and women’ line. Furthermore, if you’d actually study some science, you’d find that there are women who carry the male chromosome but not the female chromosome, and vice versa…and again, this flies directly in the face of mainstream ‘Christianity’ that says God allows only men and women and nothing more. Again, all it takes is ONE to disprove your anti-LGBT belief.

    God DOES allow hermaphrodites to be born, and that in and of itself disproves the evangelicals’ anti-LGBT beliefs.

    So where did all the anti-gay language in the Bible come from?

    If you’ll look in the Book of Jeremiah, you’ll find an admonition – in Chapter 8, I believe – where the prophet castigates the scribes for inserting their own prejudices into Scripture. Jesus Himself never did explicitly forbid homosexuality, and anyone who’s actually studied Scripture knows that there is not a single translation extant today that is without significant human error in the translation from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. If you want to debate this, I’ll gladly do so – for debating Biblical topics was precisely what I did for eight years before I switched over to debating politics. Not that I’d change your mind, of course, for I’ve found that the more conservative one’s mindset, the more unlikely it is that one will change his mind regardless of the evidence presented…and that’s not an insult, but an observation.

    If you were truly serious about being Christian, you’d see that Jesus was in many ways quite liberal. He was against the death penalty, didn’t gripe about the government, didn’t gripe about taxes, and believed in social justice (including spending time among the lower classes and feeding the poor)…and taught tolerance of others, as evinced by His admonition that we should forgive our brother not seven times, but seven times seven times. And let’s not forget His opinion of the rich when He said that it was more likely that a camel would pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man would go to Heaven. Sounds pretty liberal (and quite anti-capitalist) to me….

    And btw – Jesus wasn’t God…and the Bible never – never! – definitively says that He was. He is our Savior, certainly! But not God. Oh, the modern translations do, but if you’ll check back to the original languages, well, no, he wasn’t. You can thank the Catholic Saint Jerome and his Latin Vulgate for much of the confusion.

  • Clavos

    Oh boy, the thread just hit a new low; now it’s into fantasy…