'Excessive oil purchases are the solid foundation of our net trade deficit'

Former president Jimmy Carter, testifying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 12, about what has happened since his administration addressed US dependence on foreign oil.

May 15th, 2009

Former US President Jimmy Carter, testifying to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 12, about what has happened since his administration addressed US dependence on foreign oil:

"The US now uses two-and-a-half times more oil than China and seven-and-a-half times more than India or, on a per capita consumption basis, 12 times China's and 28 times India's.

"Although our rich nation can afford these daily purchases, there is little doubt that, in general terms, we are constrained not to alienate our major oil suppliers. Some of these countries are publicly antagonistic, known to harbor terrorist organizations, or obstruct America's strategic interests.

"When we are inclined to use restrictive incentives, as on Iran, we find other oil consumers reluctant to endanger their supplies. On the other hand, the blatant interruption of Russia's natural gas supplies to Ukraine has sent a warning signal to its European customers.

"Excessive oil purchases are the solid foundation of our net trade deficit, which creates a disturbing dependence on foreign nations that finance our debt. We still face criticism from some of our allies who are far ahead of us in energy efficiency and commitments to environmental quality, and we must also remember that the poorest people also pay the higher oil prices that result from our enormous per capita consumption."

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

More in Pipelines & Transportation