You Decide

Produced by KQED

hands grasp at a gasoline pump against a background montage of Africa map and gasoline pricesResources and Credits

Research Sources

We’re grateful to the following resources for providing background information for this activity:

  • U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics
  • U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics
  • National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the U.S., the 9/11 Commission Report
“America’s Oil Dependence and Its Implications for Middle East Policy,”
Testimony Presented to Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs by Dr. Gal Luft, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, Oct. 20, 2005
“Oil Dependence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Real Dangers, Realistic Solutions,”
Testimony Presented Before the Committee on Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, U.S. Senate, by Tom Z. Collina, Executive Director of 20/20 Vision, Oct. 19, 2005
Articles and Background
Altman, Daniel,
“Managing Globalization: To reduce poverty, money isn’t everything,” International Herald Tribune, Aug. 21, 2007
Associated Press,
“Africa tops Mideast as U.S. crude source, helped by market changes,” Feb. 21, 2007
Associated Press,
“Bin Laden’s operatives still using freewheeling Dubai,” Sept. 2, 2004
Associated Press,
“Official: 15 of 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi,” Feb. 6, 2002
Baker, David,
“Big Oil Companies in Big Trouble" San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 1, 2008
Bajaj, Vikas,
“U.S. Trade Deficit Sets Record, With China and Oil the Causes,” The New York Times, February 11, 2006
Baskin, Brian,
“The Next Frontier: As the Arctic gets warmer, oil and gas producers see the chance for a big expansion. But plenty of technological hurdles remain." The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2008
Bremmer, Ian,
“The Saudi Paradox,” World Policy Journal, Fall 2004
Crewdson, John,
“9/11 Study: Saudis long ignored Al Qaeda funding,” Chicago Tribune, Aug. 27, 2004
Dorsch, Gary,
“Global ‘Oil Shock’ Rattles World Stock Markets,” Global Money Trends, March 14, 2008
Durnev, Art, and Sergei Guriev,
“Resource abundance and corporate transparency,” VOX: Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists, Nov. 21, 2007
El-Amir, Ayman,
“Wallowing in petrodollars,” Al Ahram Weekly Online, Nov. 1-7, 2007, Issue no. 869
Epstein, Matthew,
“Trails Lead to Saudis: A Virginia terror probe continues,” National Review Online, May 21, 2003
Fielding, Nick, and Sarah Baxter,
“Saudi Arabia is hub of world terror,” The Sunday Times, Nov. 4, 2007
Grynbaum, Michael,
“Trade Deficit Shrank by 6.2% Last Year,” The New York Times, Feb. 15, 2008
Hebert, Josef,
“Study: Ethanol may add to global warming,” Associated Press, Feb. 8, 2008
Jacobson, Michael,
“Grading U.S. Performance against Terrorism Financing,” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Policy Watch/Peace Watch #1280, Sept. 5, 2007
Husain, Syed Rashid,
“Oil Scene: A Drab Debate Becomes Interesting,” Arab News, April 4, 2008
Junger, Sebastian,
“Blood Oil,” Vanity Fair, February 2007
Karbuz, Sohbet,
“The U.S. military oil consumption,” Energy Bulletin Blog, Feb. 25, 2006
“Reform is in hands of king,” Financial Times, Dec. 4, 2007
Kelley, Matt,
“Allies fall short on Iraq aid pledges,” USA Today, Jan. 30, 2008
Klare, Michael,
“Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Petroleum Dependency,” Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, 2004
Langan, Fred,
“Newest hot spot for oil production: Canada,” The Christian Science Monitor, May 15, 2006
Maass, Peter,
“The Price of Oil,” The New York Times, Dec. 18, 2005
Margonelli, Lisa,
“5 Myths About Earth-Friendly Energy,” The Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2008
Meyer, Josh,
“Saudi Arabia is prime source of terror funds, U.S. says,” Los Angeles Times, April 2, 2008
Miko, Francis,
“Removing Terrorist Sanctuaries: The 9/11 Commission Recommendations and U.S. Policy,” Congressional Research Service, Report for Congress, Aug. 10, 2004
Morgenson, Gretchen,
“The Peril That Trails an Oil Shock,” The New York Times, Aug. 22, 2004
Moss, Dana, and Zvika Krieger,
“A tipping point in Saudi Arabia: By favoring merchants over clerics, Abdullah is making crucial reforms,” Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 15, 2007
Mouawad, Jad,
“Oil Prices Pass Record Set in ’80s, but Then Recede,” The New York Times, March 3, 2008
Ottaway, David,
“The World After 9/11: U.S. Follows Money Trails of Charities,” The Washington Post, Aug. 19, 2004
Nixon, Rob,
“A Dangerous Appetite for Oil,” The New York Times, Oct. 29, 2001
Payne, Stephen,
“Mexico’s Oil Output Has Peaked, Under Current Limitations,” Oil & Gas Investor, January 2008
Pellerin, Cheryl,
“U.S. Research Targets Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Infrastructure,” U.S. Department of State, USINFO Science Series, April 20, 2005
Peters, Jeremy,
“Economic Growth Slows to Weakest Pace in 4 Years,” The New York Times, April 28, 2007
Preble, Christopher,
“Troops in Saudi Arabia Are Superfluous and Dangerous,” Asia Times, April 25, 2003
Reed, Stanley,
“The New Middle East Oil Bonanza,” Business Week, March 13, 2006
“FACTBOX: Iraq war, five years on, in facts and figures,” April 9, 2008
“FACTBOX: The Strait of Hormuz, Iran and the risk to oil,” March 27, 2007
“The Rise of the Boligarchs,”
The Economist, Aug. 9, 2007
Roberts, Paul,
“The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World,” Mariner Books, 2004
Rosenthal, Andrew,
“Bush Sends U.S. Force to Saudi Arabia as Kingdom Agrees to Confront Iraq,” The New York Times, Aug. 8, 1990
"Saudi Arabia faces shortage of employment opportunities,”
MEED: Middle East Business Intelligence, March 16, 2007
Sidoti, Liz,
“Candidates to Press Petraeus on Iraq War,” Associated Press, April 5, 2008
Stewart, Hale,
“Why the U.S.’ Oil Dependence Is Bad for the U.S. Economy,” The Huffington Post, July 3, 2007
Stossel, John,
“We Might Have to Dig Deeper, but Researchers Say There’s Plenty Left,” 20/20, ABC, May 12, 2006
Tamminen, Terry,
“Lives per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Oil Addiction,” Island Press, 2006
Taylor, Edward, and Mike Spector,
“GM, Toyota Doubtful on Fuel Cells’ Mass Use,” The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2008
Turse, Nick,
“The Military-Petroleum Complex,” Foreign Policy in Focus, March 24, 2008
Union of Concerned Scientists,
“Alternative Fuels: The Truth About Ethanol"
Wald, Matthew,
Week in Review: War and Cheap Oil: A Second Look,” The New York Times, Jan. 7, 2007
Walsh, Bryan,
“Does Global Warming Compromise National Security?" Time, April 18, 2008
Washington Institute for Near East Policy,
Policy Watch #882, Special Forum Report, Implications of U.S. Dependence on Middle East Oil, Featuring R. James Woolsey, July 7, 2004
Werdigier, Julia,
“Court Orders Freeing of Some Venezuelan Oil Assets,” The New York Times, March 19, 2008
Yetiv, Steve, and Lowell Field,
Is an oil-induced recession on the way?" The Oakland Tribune, Jan. 13, 2008
Zuckerman, Sam,
“Lenders retreat as housing market plummets,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 6, 2008

More Information

Explore each candidate’s energy plan.

John McCain
Hillary Clinton
Barack Obama

Image Credits

Soldier photograph on Step 5 image montage
From a DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Jason T. Bailey, U.S. Air Force. (
See original image on flickr
Stock image source
The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency

Site Credits

  • Researched and written by Kelly Whalen
  • Produced and edited by Meghan Laslocky
  • Special thanks to Lisa Margonelli, The New America Foundation
  • Designed by Rick Elizaga and Eric Westby
  • Created by KQED Interactive
  • In memory of Sean Fagan