How America will win the 1970s.
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Yesterday, we noted that oil production was spiking — perhaps on track for a record this year.

Little did we know. From the Associated Press:

U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer.

Driven by high prices and new drilling methods, U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7 percent this year to an average of 10.9 million barrels per day. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951. …

The Energy Department forecasts that U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons, which includes biofuels, will average 11.4 million barrels per day next year. That would be a record for the U.S. and just below Saudi Arabia’s output of 11.6 million barrels. Citibank forecasts U.S. production could reach 13 million to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, helping to make North America “the new Middle East.”

There’s a lot of remarkable stuff in those few short sentences. Among other things, it completely eviscerates the argument that oil production is somehow being hampered by the government.

But what really struck me was considering this in light of another item of news from yesterday. We reported last month that Saudi Arabia was increasingly looking at solar power. Now, the nation plans to go renewable 100 percent.

Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, one of Saudi Arabia’s top spokesmen, has confirmed that Saudi Arabia has plans to generate 100 percent of its power from renewable sources and low-carbon forms of energy.

Currently Saudi Arabia produces nearly all of its energy from fossil fuels, with two-thirds coming from oil and the rest from natural gas.

The kingdom is exploring its renewable-energy options, of which solar energy is expected to play a large part. It has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Argentina to develop nuclear power.

This is the state of the world. Saudi Arabia is transitioning to use of renewables as we become the world’s top fossil fuel extractor. Somehow, they got about 40 years ahead of us on the timeline.

I’m sure the House of Representatives will catch us up.

Update: Our David Roberts notes that we’re not quite going to pass Saudi Arabia.

Which is a valid point. Which is why we like David.