…if we increased fuel economy in modest ways, we could stop buying oil from the Persian Gulf. But we wouldn’t stop buying oil from the Persian Gulf. We might even buy a *greater* percentage from there if we were more efficient – because if we consumed less oil, then the law of supply and demand should drive oil prices *down*, which in turn would mean a greater market share for the lowest-cost producer, which is Saudi Arabia. This is exactly what happened from the mid-1980s through the early 2000s: a collapse in oil prices led to greater demand on Persian Gulf oil specifically as more costly sources of supply stopped producing.
That’s from Gideonsblog. I don’t agree with the entire post, but it does get at the idea that the much-vaunted goal of “energy independence” needs to be dissected carefully. It is low prices — present and future — we care about, not energy independence per se.