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Why Energy Independence Doesn’t Mean Cheap Gas

Filed by KOSU News in State Impact.
October 27, 2012

Dooq / Flickr

While “energy independence” has become a political talking point, the goal of reducing the country’s foreign energy reliance is a big deal in petroleum-rich states like Oklahoma.

But if the U.S. achieved energy independence, would ordinary Americans even notice? David Kestenbaum from NPR’s Planet Money team explored one everyday energy issue in Canada, America’s energy independent neighbor:

Energy independence does not mean cheaper gasoline. It doesn’t even mean that prices are more stable. Gas prices in Canada went up this summer just like they did in the United States. Prices in Canada are sensitive to conflict in the Middle East, or increased demand from China.

The explanation: Oil exists on a global market. Whether you’re a net exporter like Canada or the U.S., the world’s biggest importer, “there is basically one price,” Kestenbaum reports:

It is good for Canada’s economy to export oil to the rest of the world. Oil is money sitting there in the ground. But it doesn’t make gas any cheaper at the pump.

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