The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently announced that U.S. total energy exports exceeded imports in 2019 for the first time in 67 years. That milestone represents decades of progress towards enhanced energy security and a more robust economy. In the midst of a demand crisis that threatens to bankrupt the producers that made those advancements possible, the EIA data serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of a strong domestic energy industry.
The rapid growth of the U.S. energy sector is responsible for much of the economic prosperity that we have enjoyed in recent years. In 2019, the industry employed nearly 7 million Americans and accounted for almost 8% of the national GDP. Its expansion has improved access to affordable and reliable energy nationwide, fueling the economy as a whole.
Increased energy production also confers significant national security benefits, including reduced reliance on foreign suppliers, better resilience against commodity price manipulation, and increased trading power. No other sector so directly affects the international standing of the United States, and America’s energy independence has provided critical protection against foreign threats.
Although the coronavirus has temporarily stunted global energy consumption, demand will eventually return to normal levels and competition will resume. When it does, it is vital that domestic energy producers are ready. That means continuing infrastructure development and not limiting oil production, as currently under consideration by a number of state regulators. A strong domestic energy industry is key to promoting economic growth, ensuring consumers have reliable access to affordable energy, and bolstering American energy and national security.