Last 8 Presidents Have Promised Independence from Foreign Oil

By Stephen Markley  on May 13, 2010

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Promises, promises.

Prepare to become thoroughly despondent about the United States’ energy future. Opening the global conference on “America’s Energy Future,” financier Michael Milken outlines in a capsule summary statements and policy positions from the last eight U.S. presidents on our country’s reliance on foreign oil.

The trend in the following bullet points is all too clear. Even as our leaders talk a good game, the U.S. continues to grow ever more reliant on oil from foreign sources, going from 36% imported oil in 1974 when Richard Nixon promised energy independence by 1980 to 66% reliance by the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2009.

Neatly summarized by BoingBoing, check out these presidential statements matched to the percentage of foreign oil we import after the jump.

  • In 1974 with 36.1% of oil from foreign sources, President Richard Nixon said, “At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need.”
  • In 1975 with 36.1% of oil from foreign sources, President Gerald Ford said, “We must reduce oil imports by one million barrels per day by the end of this year and by two million barrels per day by the end of 1977.”
  • In 1979 with 40.5% of oil from foreign sources, President Jimmy Carter said, “Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 – never.”
  • In 1981 with 43.6% of oil from foreign sources, President Ronald Reagan said, “While conservation is worthy in itself, the best answer is to try to make us independent of outside sources to the greatest extent possible for our energy.”
  • In 1992 with 47.2% of oil from foreign sources, President George Bush said, “When our administration developed our national energy strategy, three principles guided our policy: reducing our dependence on foreign oil …”
  • In 1995 with 49.8% of oil from foreign sources, President Bill Clinton said, “The nation’s growing reliance on imports of oil … threatens the nation’s security … [we] will continue efforts to … enhance domestic energy production.”
  • In 2006 with 65.5% of oil from foreign sources, President George W. Bush said, “Breakthroughs … will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.”
  • In 2009 with 66.2% of oil from foreign sources, President Barack Obama said, “It will be the policy of my administration to reverse our dependence on foreign oil while building a new energy economy that will create millions of jobs.”

Mike Milken’s Excellent Presentation on Our Pathetic History of Foreign Oil Dependence (Business Insider via BoingBoing)



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