A popular Fox News talking point — and one repeated by Fox News personality Sean Hannity below — is that President Joe Biden has “unilaterally disarmed” the U.S. in the energy wars. The faulty accusation portrays a U.S. that has voluntarily decided, under Biden, to forsake self-sufficiency and instead become dependent on energy supplies from other nations rather than cultivate its own supply of oil and gas.
California Governor Gavin Newsom came to his Hannity interview seat armed with counterevidence, and he encouraged Fox viewers to look it up — “your audience doesn’t know,” Newsom says.
“Look at all the restrictions Joe Biden has put on oil and gas drilling,” Hannity says. Newsom responds by claiming that the United States is “more energy independent today under Biden…more domestic oil production than any time in history. You guys keep saying [we’re not energy independent] — you’re making that up.”
“Net energy exporters,” Newsom calls the U.S., urging viewers to look up “5.94 quads” — a figure the Governor presents as a starter to dive into research about America’s real energy situation. “Google it,” Newsom says.
[NOTE: The EIA says net US energy exports increased from 3.48 quadrillion (“quads”) British thermal unit (Btus) in 2019 to 3.62 quads in 2021, Biden’s first year in office. In 2022, US net energy exports set a new record at 5.94 quads. The U.S. produced 3.3% more energy than it consumed.]
Forbes covered the issue too, in May, addressing upfront the confusion caused by disinformation campaigns around the issue.
“U.S. energy independence often sparks debate, with many believing that the country achieved this status under President Trump and lost it during President Biden’s tenure,” Robert Rapier writes in Forbes. “Total U.S. energy production was also the highest on record. Overall, the U.S. produced 2.5% more energy in 2022 than we consumed. By comparison, in 2005 the U.S. consumed 44% more energy than we produced. In conclusion, 2022 marked the highest level of US energy independence since before 1950.”