Sunday, June 17, 2018
Business

PolitiFact: Hillary Clinton's claim that U.S. is energy independent goes too far

The statement

"We are now, for the first time ever, energy independent."

Hillary Clinton, in the second presidential debate

The ruling

If the United States used only foreign energy sources, it would clearly be energy dependent. And if it used only domestic energy sources, it would clearly be energy independent. On this spectrum, the United States is definitely closer to independence than dependence, and getting closer every year. But it's not at full energy independence yet.

The United States still consumes about 11 percent more energy than it produces, so it has to import from other nations to meet that need.

In 2015, the United States produced 87.9 quadrillion BTUs of energy and used 97.3 quadrillion BTUs, according to the Energy Information Administration, an office of the federal government. The United States imported about 11 quadrillion more BTUs of energy than it exported in 2015.

This means "the U.S. is not energy independent," said Kenneth Medlock, senior director of the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University.

That said, imports have been trending down significantly since the mid 2000s. The EIA has projected that the United States will switch from a net importer of energy to a net exporter sometime between 2020 and 2030.

"The U.S. is not currently energy independent and, while it is moving toward energy independence, it is not expected to be so for about a decade," said Paul Holtberg, leader of the EIA's Analysis Integration Team.

This shift is happening because of changes in both supply and demand. Domestic natural gas and oil production has skyrocketed since hydraulic fracturing, the extraction method known as fracking, came into regular use in the late 2000s. At the same time, Americans are using less energy as a result of growing efficiency.

Going by net imports versus net exports, the United States is currently a larger net importer than it was from the 1950s (as far back as the EIA data goes) through the 1970s, and again in the mid 1980s. So current net import levels are not unprecedented.

When people think of energy independence, they often think of oil because it's the one source of energy that the United States has historically imported from potentially unstable areas. While the United States is essentially self-sufficient as it pertains to coal, natural gas and renewable energy sources, it still imports about 24 percent of its oil needs, even with the increase in fracking.

Even so, Marilyn Brown, a professor of sustainable systems at Georgia Institute of Technology, told PolitiFact that she thinks the United States is energy independent because it could meet its oil needs from a friendly country, like Mexico or Canada, if the oil market in one of its other top supplier countries became unstable.

North America as a whole is arguably energy independent, in that it produces all the energy it consumes on a net basis, several experts pointed out.

Clinton's statement is not accurate and we rate it False.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

Comments
Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

SAN FRANCISCO - The cold, steely arm of Fernando the Barista swirled the foam of my matcha latte, set it down gently, and waved goodbye from inside a glass case. San Francisco, 2018. Where you can get robot pizza and robot salad, and now, a robot mat...
Published: 06/16/18
Extending Albert Whitted’s runway could help Innovation District take off

Extending Albert Whitted’s runway could help Innovation District take off

ST. PETERSBURG — Albert Whitted Airport wants to extend its main runway. But what would benefit the airport could also benefit the St. Pete Innovation District.Moving the runway would ease building restrictions around the airport, allowing the Univer...
Published: 06/15/18
Updated: 06/16/18
Florida’s unemployment rate drops to 3.8 percent

Florida’s unemployment rate drops to 3.8 percent

Just when it seemed like Florida’s unemployment rate couldn’t get lower, it did. According to the state figures out Friday, Florida’s jobless rate dipped to a near 18-year low of 3.8 percent in May after holding steady at 3.9 percen...
Published: 06/15/18
St. Petersburg home becomes finalist in HGTV contest

St. Petersburg home becomes finalist in HGTV contest

ST. PETERSBURG — A house in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast is a finalist in HGTV’s Ultimate House Hunt contest. Built in 2007 in the Mission Revival style, the 4,000-square-foot home a block from Coffee Pot Bayou is among 12 nationwide in the "curb a...
Published: 06/15/18
Florida’s first not-for-profit coding school is opening in St. Petersburg

Florida’s first not-for-profit coding school is opening in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Filling in a hole that was left by The Iron Yard’s exodus last year, a new computer coding school will open its doors to its first class in downtown St. Petersburg on July 23.The Academy at Suncoast Developers Guild will operate thro...
Published: 06/15/18
Tampa-based Robbins Property Associates pays $43-million for Boynton Beach apartment community

Tampa-based Robbins Property Associates pays $43-million for Boynton Beach apartment community

Tampa-based Robbins Property Associates, has bought Aventine at Boyton Beach, a 216-unit apartment community, for $43 million.Aventine, garden-style apartments that are 95 percent occupied, will be renovated and renamed "Verona at Boynton Beach."It i...
Published: 06/15/18
Florida craft beer guild: Big Beer is pushing us out of Publix

Florida craft beer guild: Big Beer is pushing us out of Publix

The national battle between Big Beer and local craft breweries is playing out on the shelves of your neighborhood Publix — and some favorite Florida brewmakers are losing.The guild that represents Florida brewers says at least 12 small breweries have...
Published: 06/15/18
Accused of racial profiling, Lowe’s ends policy of checking customer receipts as they leave

Accused of racial profiling, Lowe’s ends policy of checking customer receipts as they leave

Memorial Day weekend was supposed to bring three productive days of home improvement for Will Mega, a dean at a North Philadelphia charter school.He’d go to two Lowe’s locations near his home in Philadelphia’s Wynnefield neighborhood for a grill and ...
Published: 06/15/18
McDonald’s to test alternatives to plastic straws in U.S.

McDonald’s to test alternatives to plastic straws in U.S.

NEW YORK — McDonald’s said Friday it will switch to paper straws at all its locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and test an alternative to plastic ones in some of its U.S. restaurants later this year.The burger chain and other fast-food comp...
Published: 06/15/18
Strange brew? Tampa Bay group hopes to grow hops and medical marijuana in the same spot

Strange brew? Tampa Bay group hopes to grow hops and medical marijuana in the same spot

ST. PETERSBURG --- Among topics that stir passionate interest, two that rank high are medical marijuana and craft beers.A group of Tampa Bay entrepreneurs has ambitious plans to profit from both.They are leasing a vast warehouse space in St. Petersbu...
Published: 06/15/18