Senator Inhofe makes some very pertinent and often ignored points in his Human Events article today:
The fact of the matter is that the country is over 70% self-sufficient when we consider total energy (coal, nuclear, hydro, renewables, gas, etc). Although much of that dependence relates to oil, the U.S. does not import nearly as much from the Middle East as some suggest. As energy expert Daniel Yergin recently pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, “[s]ome 81% of oil imports do not come from that region. Thus, only 19% of imports — and 12% of total petroleum consumption — originates in the Middle East.” It may surprise many readers that the U.S. imports most of its oil not from Arab Sheiks but from our friends in Canada.
We must always remember that, if we reduce our and the world’s consumption of oil, it will be countries like Canada that will be hit first. The Saudis and their friends can produce oil cheaper than the Canadians and Mexicans. It may be that badly thought out policies actually increase the amount and proportion of oil we import from the Middle East by hurting other suppliers. Unintended consequences of our energy policies abound — tortilla prices in Mexico are going up, for instance, as a direct result of the already existing ethanol mandate. As the ethanol mandate expands, we’re going to see higher prices for meat and (gasp!) beer, not to mention higher gas prices coupled with decreased performance from our cars. There are significant externalities to our new energy policies that people have not taken into account.