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What does it mean to be energy independent? It depends on who you ask.

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the 2022 House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the 2022 House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The U.S. produces a lot of oil — currently more than 11 billion barrels a day. It produces so much oil and natural gas that overall, it sells more to other countries than it buys from foreign sources.   

Yet a war almost 5,000 miles away has pushed U.S. gas prices to record levels – more than $4.30 per gallon, on average. This has lawmakers on both sides of the aisle wondering how the U.S. can become better insulated from global price shocks.

Last week, President Joe Biden said he wants the country to look toward renewable energy sources:

This crisis is a stark reminder. To protect our economy over the long term, we need to become energy independent. I’ve had numerous conversations over the last three months with our European friends about how they have to wean themselves off of Russian oil.  It’s just not tenable. It should motivate us to accelerate the transition to clean energy. This is a perspective, as I said, that our European allies share and a future where together we can achieve greater independence.

But Republicans, including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, want to see more drilling on U.S. soil.  

“The answer is right beneath our feet. It’s time for President Biden to say yes to American energy,” Scalise said. “We continue to call on President Biden to do the right thing, say no to Russian oil, but then say yes to American oil.”

So what are our options to become more energy secure? And if we produce so much of our own oil, why are gas prices so high anyway?   

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