'No More Saudi Oil' -- An Empty Promise?

Energy independence — it’s a pledge that makes for great politics and campaign promises, but one that has not and simply cannot be kept.

Since 1970, every president has claimed he would make America less dependent on foreign oil, but all were wrong.

“There’s very little that the president could do about gasoline prices,” said Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute (search). “This is not a command-and-control economy, it’s a free market economy."

Domestic oil production has fallen from 11 million barrels a day to 7.9 million today. But consumption has continued to increase from 14 to 20 million barrels a day — with the U.S. making up the difference by importing millions of barrels daily.

"The U.S. holds 3 percent of the world's oil reserves and consumes 25 percent of the world's produced oil," said Kara Saul-Rinaldi of the Alliance to Save Energy (search). "We can't drill our way out of this problem."

That may be true, but the U.S. also produces 33 percent of the world’s economic output, and some believe there’s enough untapped oil under Alaska to replace what America imports from Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, in each of the last three years, President Bush’s energy bill died in the Senate — twice over drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (search) and this year over a provision to shield oil companies from liability for the gas additive MTBE.

As for fuel prices, analysts say, get used to them.

"If you adjust for inflation, $2 for a gallon of gasoline in today's dollars is about the historic average from 1918 to the present," said Taylor.

Click on the video box near the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' William La Jeunesse.