“When it comes to energy security, the United States veers constantly between panic and complacency.” These words were said by James Schlesinger, the only man who served as both the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of Defense. The Fuse was founded with a single purpose: to provide a trustworthy source of news, analysis, and commentary on all aspect of the energy security debate, and guide a conversation that understands the urgency of our energy security challenges while maintaining a clear vision of solutions.
The term “energy security” is used in many contexts by different interests to achieve a variety of aims.
For the environmental movement, transitioning our transportation sector away from oil is framed as an energy security objective in the broader context of achieving climate and energy efficiency goals. For the oil and gas industry, energy security means increasing our domestic energy supply. For us, it means both.
Right now, oil supplies 92 percent of the energy that powers our transportation sector—a figure that has remained essentially unchanged since the 1970s, and is projected by the major forecasting agencies to persist in the coming decades. There are currently no substitutes available at scale, leaving the entire transportation sector and the households and businesses that depend on it vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices. Oil is a commodity, priced globally, which is subject to extreme price volatility and insecurity of supply.
This severe oil dependence ties the fate of our economy to the global oil market—and jeopardizes both our national security and economic prosperity. Every economic recession during the past 40 years has coincided with a spike in global oil prices. Every year, five percent of national GDP is dedicated to oil spending. As the fate of the U.S. economy is tied closely to oil prices, the nation expends tremendous resources overseas attempting to stabilize supply, and our national security objectives are distorted by concerns about disrupting the flow of oil. Meanwhile, the majority of the world’s oil resources are endowed to countries that share neither our interests nor our values.
We live in an era where technological progress and public policy can, for the first time in history, fundamentally transform our energy security. New extraction technologies have ushered in an era of domestic energy abundance that was thought impossible only ten years ago. Meanwhile, vehicles powered by natural gas, electricity, and hydrogen-fuel cells are available to consumers, and increasingly affordable in price.
How will U.S. oil producers weather the storm of low oil prices? When will the shale revolution go global? How will electric vehicle sales be challenged by the return of cheap gas? Which oil-producing countries are at risk of a severe supply disruption? Which companies are transitioning from diesel to natural gas trucks, and why? How safe are crude oil trains? Are biofuels a reasonable solution to volatile oil prices? What is the role of government in spurring innovation? These questions, and more, are what guide the content and substance of The Fuse.
The Fuse is a project of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), an action-oriented, non-partisan, no-profit organization committed to reducing America’s dependence on oil. SAFE’s mission is to enhance American economic and national security by reducing the role of oil in the economy. However, while SAFE’s mission is rooted in advocacy, The Fuse is designed as an objective and educational resource, the purpose of which is to inform, rather than steer, the national energy policy debate.
If you would like to learn more about SAFE, please visit www.secureenergy.org.