To be fair, USA Today did pour some cold water on Citi’s sanguine forecast. Just over halfway through its article, the paper noted that, “For consumers, America’s new energy supplies help contain costs—but they’re not a magic path back to $2 gasoline.” In addition, the last section began by acknowledging that “many hopes—and fears—about the US energy boom will likely prove exaggerated,” and quoted the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics casting doubt on “Citi’s thesis that gas and oil will stay cheaper in the U.S. than aboard.”
It took too long for these caveats to emerge, however, and the contention, made by Levi and many other experts, that even zero net oil imports wouldn’t amount to “energy independence,” never came up.
The piece ended by quoting the head of the Chamber of Commerce in Williamsport, the boomtown described in its lede. “They tell us not to worry,” he said, referring to prospectors. “The gas isn’t going anywhere and neither are they.”
Unfortunately, USA Today didn’t mention that that promise has been broken countless times, and that rainbows—even oily, gassy ones—tend to disappear.
As Levi explained in his blog, “More supply can help, but to fundamentally reduce US vulnerability to the vagaries of world energy markets, we need to rein in our extraordinary (and economically self-damaging) demand.”