Becoming Forget Oil Independent

This weekend we begin to celebrate our independence from Britain, but we won’t be celebrating independence from Iran, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia anytime soon.

While President Bush said his goal was to cut dependence on foreign oil by 75 percent by 2025, a Department of Energy agency says that his goal is about as attainable as my goal of playing centerfield for the Oakland A’s.

The Energy Information Administration says oil consumption in North America (mostly from the U.S.) will increase by 38 percent between 2003 and 2030, while the global demand for oil (due in large part to China and India) will increase by 47 percent to 118 million barrels per day.

The country expected to provide the most of the additional supply will be (say it with me) Iran!

The report, which is revised every year, says global consumption of renewable fuels will nearly double by 2030, but considering U.S. production of ethanol and biodiesel increases that much every year, that’s not saying much, and would only decrease the ration of crude-renewable fuel used from 5 to 1 to 4 to 1.

Whomever estimated the oil prices for the coming decades had their heads (say it with me) in the sand. The "reference case" (see graphic) estimates that oil prices will be lower in 25 years than they are now, a nice trick considering no dinosaurs have died in millennia to increase supply and most estimates are that we’ve already sucked half of the oil that there ever was out of the ground (Google Hubbert’s Peak if you don’t believe me).

More depressing facts from the report:

Worldwide marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 71 percent between 2003 and 2030.

The report projects an increase in OPEC supply of only 11.8 million barrel per day over the same period (so I hope we stay friends with Venezuela and Canada, since that’s 27 million barrels short of what the world will need).

Oil could be has high as $96 a barrel by 2030, or one-third more than today.

So go take the family out for a nice long drive to celebrate the 4th. You may not get many more opportunities.