Can the US survive off of its native oil sources?

If so, why don’t we? I was reading an article on msnbc talking about how if the arabs were to completely cut off our oil supply we would still have plenty of oil in alaska and the arctic.

My question is why dont we stop exporting our oil and start using it all in the USA? It makes no sense for me to grow apples on a tree in my back yard, sell them to my neighbors and then later go to the store to buy apples for myself. Unless I am selling my apples to my neighbors for more than I am paying at the stire. Then I get apples AND money.

I thought about GD for this question, but I am sure there is a factual answer to this question and I am just missing it somewhere. Seems too simple.

Also, to add to my question, if the US decided to stop importing oil from other countries (middle east) would those countries have a huge economic slam because of the lack of demand for their product? Isn’t the US the #1 consumer of fossil fuels in the world?

I am guessing that Iraq wouldn’t be so happy if they had a bunch of oil that no one wanted to buy.

About 1/4 of the US’s oil comed from the mideast. The rest comes from South America (who are a lot more friendly to us, usually) and domestic sources. If the Arabs decided to cut os off, it would be a pain in the ass, but not unbearable. Currently, the oil fields in Alaska are not being explored because of pressure from environmentalists who want to preserve the land. There would probably be a lot more willingness to drill in Alaska if the mideast cut us off.

The US is the world’s largest net importer of oil. Yes, we have a lot of domestic oil reserves and yes, we export some oil products, but we’re by far a net importer.

If our oil imports were cut off, we could survive for awhile by living off our reserve supply, but that’s not a long-term solution. It’s sort of saying that I could live off what’s in my freezer for awhile if I suddenly wasn’t able to go out and buy food.

We don’t really export oil. We do export some refinery products.

But we import about 55% of what we use. We can replace a lot of that with drilling in both mature exploration provinces and area that have not yet been opened up to exploration and exploitation.

The U.S. has been the leading consumer, but that is changing as the third world undergoes its industrial revolution. Nevertheless, the Saudis would feel it if we didn’t buy any of their oil. That situation is unlikely to come about in the near future.

Much info here:

The oil market is global. The stuff goes to the highest bidder. Most US oil exports are probably to Canada and Mexico. If you banned such exports, those places would import the oil from elsewhere, raising demand for and the cost of Saudi, Indonesian, North Sea and other oil.

The same applies to apples or any other commodity. A producer in one part of the US might sell goods to customers overseas, while a consumer in another part of the country might be buying similar goods from another country.

Even if the US didn’t export any oil - and even if it increased domestic production in Alaska or wherever - the US would continue to import oil, because its people want more of it than the US can produce, and they are willing to pay for it. The only way to change that would be for people to learn to ride bicycles to work (or at least use more efficient vehicles), which seems unlikely.

Yes, you can become less dependent on Arabs - that’ll be a $1 a gallon tax on gas. Still interested?

We also need to note that coal can be converted/refined into petroleum products, including oil, gas and diesel. It is an expensive procedure, but one it gets up and running, it would be competitive with what the Europeans pay for oil.

So, how much coal are we sitting on? Enough to last several hundred years if all our fossil fuels came from coal.

Anybody else remember the embargo in the early 70’s oh please please please

Sure it can be done - but we’d pretty well have to be forced into it, with a pretty good economic downturn (probably).

I heard someone claim that if the average fuel economy of cars in the US were reduced by 3mpg, the US would not need any foreign (or was it middle-eastern?) oil. Can I assume that is false then?

The price of oil should be factored into the answer. Some oil fields are not economically viable to exploit. That is, we know oil’s there, but it would cost more to get it out of the ground than it would be to sell it.

If we’re forced to rely on native sources, and the cost per barrel goes up for an extended length of time, oil companies would reopen those fields.

There are a number of factors to consider. First off, the US is a big energy waster. 5% of the world’s population that uses 20%+ of energy annually. There are huge rooms for improvement.

Secondly, the oil prices in the US is really artifically low. Things such as environmental costs aren’t considered. If that changes, research into renewable energy will increase. Now that’s just no economic incentive to do so.

Without taking into account GDP, this statement above does not mean that the US is a big “energy waster”. Sure, the US is, but you cannot prove it so by comparing simply population and energy consumption alone.

An interesting perspective came to me as my father and I found ourselves uncharacteristically aligned along the same lines with regard to… a recent item in the news which need not be named.

Dad worked a little bit on the strategic petroleum reserve just after it was kicked off in 1975. He claims that the original premise behind the reserve was to move Texan oil at a very low cost, keeping the Texas oil industry afloat, so to speak, while incurring a fairly low expense to the federal government. At the same time, the U.S. would increase its imports of foreign oil until such a day that we had to reignite the domestic industry.

The strategy behind the strategic petroleum reserve was therefore to burn someone else’s oil, while stockpiling our own in such a way that if OPEC were to ever buck up again (as they occasionally did), the reserve could be tapped to keep oil prices relatively stable. However, the reserve does not appear to increase directly with American consumption.

Accoring to Dad, with the help of the strategic petroleum reserve, the United States should be able to hum along just as if it were 1975 all over again. Yes, that’s the way he sarcastically put it.

The maximum capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is 700 million barrels. Presently it is less than 600 million barrels (it was drawn down to 540 MMBO late in the Clinton Presidency and is being charged now - a more precise figure may be available at the Energy Information Administration link I gave above).
If we were to lose all imports suddenly, and assuming the SPR were fully charged, it could take up the 55% slack in our daily consumption of just under 20 MMBO for two months. Assuming some state of national emergency were to be declared, and consumption restricted (and restrictions would likely fall on the general public as it would be foolhardy to cripple industry in a time of economic crisis), you might squeeze that out to three months.

That is nowhere near enough time to bring newly sought domestic production online, although it would definitely accelerate the drilling of inventory prospects. And, of course, drilling efficiency drops when the bum’s rush is on. Should the ANWR battle be won the day this happens, it will be a minimum of two years before that production feeds into the market. Same time frame for any other new exploration province. But, new production would appear from inventory drilling and rapidexpansion of efforts in currently exploitable areas, and as the price would rise, more and more economically marginal resources could be exploited.

So, there’d be some belt tightenin’, but the supply would be there, to some degree.

And, OPEC et al would take some hickies as well while the world market adjusted to the newly energy independent U.S.

That’s one scenario - if OPEC laid an embargo on us again, Mexico might well feel that it’s prime time to be pumping to el Norte; the calculations above do not explore that possibility.

In answer specifically to the OP, you need only look around your own neighborhood. In mine, I can wander around the neighbor hood any fall and see multitudes of apples, lying on the ground as well as apples left on the trees to rot or fall to the ground.

I think we can safely relate your story directly to the current oil situation. As long as it is EASIER to obtain apples from the store, than it is to pick, prepare and store the apples from the trees in our own backyards, we are likely to stay with what is more familiar to us.

The U.S. has an uncanny ability and a great capacity to MAKE DO or DO WITHOUT. All it takes is a bit of patriotic fervor to get us going. For example, look at the West Coast energy crisis of the last year. The simple solution appears to have been to ask the populace to voluntarily attempt to reduce their consumption by 10%. Everyone, including the utilities were greatly suprised at the success generated without any apparant pain.

If and when the U.S. is ready to cut back on foreign imports, we can and will deal with it.

The great shame of the last few political administratons is the lack of direction in forming a more realistic energy policy. It is obvious where our current administration’s interests lie.