Ukraine Invasion Exposes Fallacy of US "Energy Dominance"

Ukraine Invasion Threatens US "Energy Independence"

The US has talked about "energy dominance" for a number of years, and the Obama Administration prided itself on being a net exporter of oil, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine is calling into question just how energy independent any country is when it can be held hostage to the global oil market. Already, US gas prices have been pushed to a recent high, over $4.30 a gallon as of today, according to AAA.

Over the 20th century, the oil production process has slowed in the US, taking six to eight months of fracking to produce a drop of oil. Additionally, "Since Congress lifted the ban on oil exports in 2015, all American-drilled oil and some of our natural gas have been priced on the international market," reports the Atlantic, leaving American oil prices subject to global market forces.

KTVB: Majority of Americans say $4 per gallon is their threshold according to AAA, March 10, 2022.

Why This Matters

Geopolitical crises like Russia's invasion of Ukraine show how unstable fossil fuels are as core sources of energy and just how dependent we are on them. The dilemma is such: Oil sales are subsidizing Putin's war on Ukraine ($285 million per day from the EU alone), and sanctions on Russian oil could cause the price of crude oil to inflate to $185 per barrel.

If energy independence is the goal, this should be a wake-up call to make renewable energy cheap and readily available as soon as possible. The EU, which gets about 40% of its gas supply from Russia, began moving even more rapidly to unveil a strategy allowing it to break free from that dependence by increasing renewable energy, and the US should follow suit.

BBC: Russia accused of blackmailing Europe over gas supplies, October 6, 2021.

IEA: A 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union's Reliance on Russian Natural Gas, March 3, 2022.

Drilling Down US Energy Policy

Some suggest that the energy crisis should be solved by relaxing standards for the fossil fuel industry and increasing drilling. For example, during Tuesday's CERAWeek conference, ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Ryan Lance emphasized that policymakers need to consider the unintended consequences of decarbonization policies, arguing that measures like permitting delays for oil and gas are depleting the US of its energy supply.

To cut out fossil fuels as quickly as possible, an effective long-term strategy is needed. This could be accomplished by Congress passing the Build Back Better Act with its energy and climate provisions that encourage renewable energy production, and using the Defense Production Act to quicken the production of electric vehicles, renewables, and heat-pumps.

CNBC: Sen. Ted Cruz weighs in on Biden's response to Russia, Ukraine, US oil production, March 8, 2022.

NBC: Senator Joe Manchin's Interview On NBC's "Meet The Press," March 6, 2022.

Climate Town: US Oil & Gas Companies Trying To Profit From War In Ukraine, March 9, 2022.

MSNBC: Breaking Down The Build Back Better Bill And How It Helps You, Decmber 8, 2021.