Molly Butler / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

America is producing more energy than ever, but Fox News is attacking Biden over it anyway

Fox News personalities have falsely claimed throughout the Biden administration that President Joe Biden’s policies are making the U.S. “energy dependent” on foreign countries — particularly when it comes to oil — and that the administration is cutting production of energy. But these debunked political attacks are undermined by the real data: The U.S. is producing more energy than ever before; the U.S. is a net exporter of oil and producing more petroleum than at any time in our history; oil imports are lower now than they were during every year of the Trump administration prior to the COVID-19 pandemic; and the U.S. recently became the world's largest exporter of liquified natural gas.

Fox's false attacks are also based on the misguided premise that the U.S. economy could ever achieve “energy independence” and be free from price shocks affecting fossil fuels that are bought and sold in a global marketplace. Because oil is traded in a global market, disruptions elsewhere in the world will still affect American crude oil and gasoline prices, no matter how much the U.S. produces. Developing renewable energy — which Biden is accelerating — is the key to true energy security by reducing the risk of regional or global energy supply disruptions, which has been well-understood by energy analysts for many years.

  • The U.S. is producing more energy than ever before and currently fits the popular definition of “energy independent”

    • According to the Energy Information Administration, “total U.S. energy exports in 2022 were the highest on record.” An August 2023 report from the EIA titled “U.S. energy facts explained” show that in 2022, “Total energy exports exceeded total energy imports by about 5.94 quads [quadrillion British thermal units], the largest margin on record.” By one popular definition — wherein “energy independence” means the U.S. produces more energy than it consumes — that would mean the U.S. was more “energy independent” than ever. [Energy Information Administration, 8/9/23; Forbes, 5/2/23]
    • EIA data show that under Biden, the U.S. has been a net exporter of petroleum products for 27 months in a row, far longer than under Trump. Data on U.S. net imports of crude oil and petroleum products show an uninterrupted streak of negative net imports — reflecting a streak of American exports of petroleum exceeding imports — from October 2021 to December 2023, the last time the chart was updated. That 27 month long streak far exceeds the longest streak of net exports during the Trump administration, which between October 2019 and April 2020 lasted just 7 months. [Energy Information Administration, accessed 3/7/24]

    An EIA graph showing a long streak of negative net crude oil and petroleum imports under the Biden administration

    • “U.S. oil production has increased since Biden took office.” In an October 2023 article responding to Rep. Elise Stefanik's (R-NY) false claim that “American energy production has been crushed by Joe Biden’s radical, failed far left policies,” cited EIA data to show oil production increasing under Biden: “In 2020, before Biden took office, domestic crude oil production averaged 11.3 million barrels per day in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration. In the last 12 months, crude oil production averaged about 12.5 million barrels per day, EIA data through July show. That’s an increase in oil production of roughly 10.7%.” [, 10/18/23]
    • The most recent monthly EIA data available show higher production in each of the past five months than in the highest production month during the Trump administration, meaning that the United States has never produced more oil domestically than it produces today. Data on U.S. field production of crude oil clearly shows that domestic oil production quickly recovered during the Biden administration after cratering in the last year of Trump’s presidency due to the shock created by the COVID-19 pandemic. After flirting with record monthly production through 2023, domestic oil production was above Trump-era highs in each of the last five months of 2023. Domestic oil production is expected to continue setting records in 2024. [Energy Information Administration, accessed 3/7/24; CNBC, 1/21/24]

    An EIA graph showing record high crude oil production under the Biden administration

    • EIA data show lower oil imports under Biden than during most of the Trump administration. EIA data show that in 2021 and 2022, the most recent years available, oil imports were several hundred million barrels lower than they were every year of the Trump administration, prior to 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. [Energy Information Administration, accessed 3/7/24]
    • The U.S. was the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in 2023. In January, Reuters reported that “U.S. liquefied natural gas exports hit monthly and annual record highs in December” and that industry analysts were saying “it positioned the United States to leapfrog Qatar and Australia to become the largest exporter of LNG in 2023.” [Reuters, 1/3/24]
  • It's a myth that the U.S. can become “energy independent” through increased fossil fuel production

    • GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan: “‘Energy independence’ is a farce, a myth” because “oil is a global commodity.” In a January post to X, formerly Twitter, De Haan added: “The US will always import and export. there is no such thing as independence from a globally-priced and consumed commodity.” [Twitter/X, 1/10/24]
    • Princeton University energy systems engineering professor Jesse Jenkins: “We can’t drill our way to true energy security.” In a New York Times opinion piece, Jenkins noted that because “oil, coal and, increasingly, natural gas are globally traded commodities,” “the decisions of a single autocrat on the other side of the world can send the cost of filling the tank in Des Moines or Denver soaring.” Jenkins argues, “These threats to America’s economic security will persist as long as our households, businesses and industry remain dependent on fossil fuels. Only by reducing our use of oil and gas can we insulate America’s economy from fossil fuel price shocks.” [The New York Times, 5/14/22]
    • Washington Post global business reporter Jeanne Whalen explained, “Real freedom from oil-and-gas-price shocks can happen only if the United States replaces fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.” Whalen noted in a September 2019 article that “wind, solar and hydro energy are increasingly fueling power generation in the United States.” [The Washington Post, 9/19/19]
    • Contrary to right-wing talking points, presidents don't have unilateral control over the oil industry. Biden has been an outspoken advocate of transitioning the U.S. economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels, and included historic investments to address climate change and hasten the energy transition in his legislative agenda. As E&E News noted last September, an administration's policies have a limited role in driving U.S. production and “the results of those rules and regulations can often lag by months or years.” [E&E News, 9/25/23; The Washington Post, 12/31/23]
  • Yet Fox figures and guests ignored these facts to falsely claim that Biden’s policies have made the U.S. dependent on other countries' oil

    • Former Fox News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: “We went from energy independent from the first time in 75 years to now going back with a gas can over to Saudi Arabia and begging for some fuel.” [Fox News, Fox News Live, 1/1/24
    • Fox host Sean Hannity said that Trump “is gonna fight … for energy independence.” Hannity was responding to his guest, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), who said that Biden “begs our enemies for fuel and energy.” [Fox News, Hannity, 1/9/24
    • Fox host Mark Levin said, “We achieve energy independence under Donald Trump and we have these sort of economic-suicide politicians who are destroying our economy from within. Isn't that what's really on the ballot?” [Fox News, Life, Liberty, Levin, 1/14/24
    • Fox contributor Kellyanne Conway contrasted Trump supposedly making the U.S. energy independent with Biden “killing the Keystone pipeline jobs.” [Fox News, Hannity, 1/15/24
    • On Jesse Watters Primetime, Conway complained that Biden is “increasing regulations, making us energy-dependent, killing those Keystone Pipeline jobs, Jesse, on day one, and making us dependent on foreign dictators who don't even like this country and our people.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 1/22/24]
    • Responding to the Biden administration decision to pause approval on some liquified natural gas exports, Fox guest Art Laffer asserted: “They’re waging war against energy.” [Fox News, America Reports, 1/26/24]
    • Fox host Laura Ingraham said Democrats and the Biden administration were “plotting against America’s energy independence.” Contributor Charlie Hurt agreed, adding: “He did everything to destroy American energy independence.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/26/24
    • Over a chyron stating “Biden has emboldened our enemies,” Ingraham claimed that globalists wanted a world “where we attack our own energy independence.” She added, “Until we get a brand new president, bad things are going to continue to happen.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/30/24
    • On Sunday Morning Futures, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) said one of Trump’s top priorities is “drilling for more energy” and declared that “America can and should be energy independent.” [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures, 2/4/24
    • Hannity hosted Trump, who claimed Biden “screwed up the energy” and that “right now, we get our oil — a lot of it — from Venezuela. We don't take it from where we should be taking it.” Hannity said Trump’s plan is to “be energy dominant.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/29/24]
    • Hannity stated that the 2024 election was “the biggest-choice election in our lifetime” and voters had a choice between “climate alarmist religious cultists” and “energy dominance,” among other opposing policies. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/6/24]