As we approach America’s independence day, the “energy security” benefit many organizations and government officials tout may be overblown, according to a new study conducted by RAND Corporation. The study, “Does Imported Oil Threaten National Security?” evaluated the risks to national security associated with U.S. imports of oil and assessed the costs and benefits of policies to address these risks. The study was sponsored by the Institute for 21st Century Energy, which is affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The RAND study evaluated several common concerns about U.S. dependence on imported oil, including:
• the likely economic impact on the U.S. should a major drop in the global supply of oil occur,
• attempts by oil exporters to manipulate exports to influence the U.S. or other countries in ways that are harmful to U.S. interests,
• the role of oil-export earnings in supporting terrorist groups, and
• the costs of protecting the supply and transit of oil from the Persian Gulf.
The major finding of the study was that an abrupt and extended fall in the global oil supply and resulting higher prices would seriously disrupt U.S. economic activity, no matter how much or how little oil the U.S. imports. In addition, the study found that the U.S. current oil-export embargoes have been unsuccessful in advancing the foreign policy goals of oil exporters.
The study concludes with policy recommendations that should benefit, not harm the country as several of our current and proposed policies do. Click here to read the full report, “Does Imported Oil Threaten National Security?“