How The Oil Industry Fared Under The Last Nine U.S. Presidents

How The Oil Industry Fared Under The Last Nine U.S. Presidents

With the 2020 presidential election looming — and with many claims and counterclaims about a president’s impact on the oil industry — I thought it might be of interest to review the history of U.S. oil production and consumption over the past 50 years. Here are the highlights from each president’s term in office.

Richard Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th president on January 20, 1969. When President Nixon took office, U.S. oil production was nearing a peak after over 100 years of increasing production. Imports made up 10% of U.S. consumption. In 1970, U.S. oil production reached 9.6 million barrels per day (BPD) and began a long, steady decline.

Richard Nixon began his second term on January 20, 1973. U.S. oil production had declined to 9.2 million BPD while consumption had increased by 3 million BPD from the first year of Nixon’s first term. As a result, oil imports would more than double during Nixon’s presidency, and American citizens would learn the danger of the dependence on imports with the OPEC oil embargo of 1973.

Gerald Ford was inaugurated as the 38th president on August 9, 1974 after Nixon resigned in disgrace. During President Ford’s term in office, domestic oil production continued to decline. U.S. oil consumption and imports continued to grow, and both were at all-time highs during Ford’s last year in office. Read more