U.S. now produces more oil than it imports: Good or bad?

For the first time in two decade, the U.S. is now producing more oil than it imports. This means pricing stability and greater economic growth but some skeptics argue that the increase in U.S. oil production is a sign that we're using too much oil in the first place. 

David McNew/Reuters/File
Oil rig pumpjacks, also known as thirsty birds, operate near Long Beach, California. The U.S. now produces more oil than it imports.

It's official: The U.S. now produces more oil than it imports from foreign countries.

It isn't the first time that's ever happened, but it's the first time in two decades--and according to the White House, it's going hand-in-hand with lower CO2 emissions and growing GDP.

For those advocating greater energy independence, it's undoubtedly a good sign.

For too long, the U.S. has been at the behest of countries with dubious political processes. Importing oil from some regions--particularly those in the Middle East--has led to shortages, fluctuating prices and even war. Reducing those imports can only be a good thing. 

It leads to pricing stability and greater economic growth--and keeps money generated in the U.S, inside the U.S. A study last year concluded that the U.S. could be the world's biggest oil producer by 2020. And completely energy-independent by 2030.

It's concurrent, if not directly related, to improving fuel efficiency in U.S. vehicles, greater use of biofuels and a reduction in greenhouse gases. Other studies have shown that the U.S. uses less oil now than it did just under a decade ago, when fuel use first started dropping. We may be in an energy-consuming society, but we're still using less of it.

But is the rate at which the U.S. is producing oil still a good thing? For some, it's still a sign we're using too much oil in the first place. And ultimately, the fuel we use still relies heavily on imports, even if they're at a 17-year low.

Others may see it as prolonging the wait before we have a true drop in oil usage and CO2 emissions, and extending the environmental impact of fossil fuels. Sure, it's great not importing so much oil from war-torn areas, but we should avoid producing too much as well. The less oil, the better, right?

We'd like to know what our readers think.

Do the economic benefits of greater domestic production and reduced net imports partly offset the downsides of continued oil use? Or should our goal be to minimize production and imports and move towards greener sources of energy sooner?

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.