Soleimani Strike, Increased U.S. Presence in Middle East Stresses Importance of Ending Dependence on Oil

Washington, D.C.—In response to the killing of Iranian Quds Force general Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad airport, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement:

“We need to ask ourselves why the United States keeps sending troops to the Middle East and the persistent answer is the need for oil to fuel our economy, which means that until we make oil a non-strategic commodity we will continue to send troops to stabilize situations or dissuade tyrants.”

America’s outsized dependence on oil to power its economy means we are continually exposed to geopolitical risk in the Middle East. As the world’s largest oil consumer, 70 percent of our nation’s oil consumption is used to power a transportation sector that is 92 percent dependent on petroleum fuels.

This dependence is why the United States spends at least $81 billion every year to secure the global oil supply, and is also why U.S. troops continue to be sent to the Middle East amid greater political unrest. More than 3,500 U.S. troops are being sent to the region after Iran promised “severe revenge” on the United States for the attack, in addition to the 14,000 troops already deployed to the Gulf region since May.

The global nature of oil pricing—in which a disruption anywhere in the world affects prices everywhere—is why events such as these continue to influence U.S. foreign policy and the economy, despite robust American oil production.

“Ending U.S. oil dependence requires greater fuel diversity—and this can be achieved through the technological advancements we are seeing today in electric vehicles and autonomous technologies. From federal incentives for vehicle electrification to increasing domestic production of strategic minerals necessary for EV batteries, we must pass measures that promote fuel diversity,” Diamond added.

Contact: Alex Adams | 202.461.2374 |


About Securing America’s Future Energy

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.