Description: Oil dependence remains a potentially serious economic and strategic problem for the United States. This report updates previous estimates of the costs of oil dependence to the U.S. economy and introduces several methodological enhancements. Estimates of the costs to the U.S. economy of the oil market upheavals of the last 30 years are in the vicinity of $7 trillion, present value 1998 dollars, about as large as the sum total of payments on the national debt over the same period. Simply adding up historical costs in 1998 dollars without converting to present value results in a Base Case cost estimate of $3.4 trillion. Sensitivity analysis indicates that cost estimates are sensitive to key parameters. A lower bound estimate of $1.7 trillion and an upper bound of $7.1 trillion (not present value) indicate that the costs of oil dependence have been large under almost any plausible set of assumptions. These cost estimates do not include military, strategic or political costs associated with U.S. and world dependence on oil imports.
Date: May 17, 2000
Creator: Greene, D.L.
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