American Energy Policy

DOI10.1177/002070200906400112
AuthorAlbert Legault
Publication Date01 Mar 2009
SubjectThe 2008 US Election—Challenges for a New President
Albert Legault
American
energy policy
Lessons from a clash of partisan visions in the 2008 presidential election
| International Journal | Winter 2008-09 | 145 |
With less than 2.5 percent of the world’s discovered oil reserves, the United
States has climbed to third place among oil-producing countries, after Saudi
Arabia and the Russian Federatio n.1The US consumes 24 percent of the
world’s oil production, at a rate of 20.7 million barrels per day. In 2007, the
US imported close to 14 mb/d, more than 66 percent of its oil consumption.
This dependency, one that all recent American presidents have denounced
in vain, could increase even more in the future. Under these conditions,
Washington presents itself with only two choices: reduce consumption or
increase domestic production. American production has been on the decline
for several decades, however, and Washington has made substantial efforts
Albert Legault is professor of political science at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where
he holds the Canada Resea rch Chair in international relation s. His recent research has
concentrated on energy policy and politics, and he has recently published Oil, Gas, and
Other Energies: A Primer (Technip, 2008). This article was translated by Damian Ferrese.
1 According to British Petroleum’s annual
Statistical Review of World Energy
, American
production was at 6.9 million barrels per day in 2007, compared with 10.4 for Saudi
Arabia and 9.9 for the Russian Federation.

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