EIA Administrator Sieminski Meets for a Conversation on Energy

This week, The Christian Science Monitor, with support from America’s Natural Gas Alliance, hosted U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) boss Adam Sieminski for a breakfast conversation on the state of global and U.S. energy markets and their effects on the U.S. economy. The event, Recharge, was the first in a series to bring CSM energy correspondent David Unger’s weekly energy digest of the same name into a live setting. This event’s primary takeaway with the government’s foremost energy expert? Cheap oil won’t last forever. Sieminski noted that while oil prices may sit at record lows for now, this is the sixth time in his career the economy has witnessed a crash in crude. This type of market volatility is nothing new, nor is it going anywhere soon. “It’s happened before, and it probably isn’t going to be permanent,” Mr. Sieminski warned. Because the United States relies on oil for nearly 40 percent of its primary energy demand—with over 70 percent of that going to power transportation—the economy is forced to weather the shock of oil price spikes in a disproportionate way. The results are sometimes traumatic enough to shave entire points off GDP. Every economic recession in recent history as either been proceeded by or immediately followed an oil price spike. WolframAlpha While Mr. Sieminski reminded audience members that he is barred from making any sort of policy recommendation, it should be clear that American oil dependence, fueling 92 percent of the transportation sector, is wholly unsustainable given the volatile nature of the oil market. With geopolitical uncertainty threatening supply security in countries like Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria, and major oil producing countries struggling to fulfill domestic spending goals and maintain stability, there is no sign that the fundamental unpredictability of global oil will change any time soon, if ever. Fortunately, technologies such as electric and natural gas vehicles are able to take advantage of domestically abundant, price-stable resources to displace oil in the transportation sector. The increased adoption and use of these energy sources represents the most effective way to enhance American national and economic security, decoupling our financial well-being and foreign policy flexibility from the global oil market. SAFE announced this week the second installment of its Energy Security Prize, rewarding those innovative companies who are bringing new technologies to displace oil to the market within five years. Learn more and apply at www.secureenergy.org/prize