Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but it can be moved. A great deal of the economy involves transporting fossil fuel from its sources to its consumers. As much as everyone wants to be “energy independent,” some economies must import more than others.

This changes over time, though. The chart below is an interesting look at the balance for Europe, China, Russia, and the US.

Focusing on the period since 2010, Europe was a large net importer and Russia a large net exporter. At the same time, US energy imports steadily dropped so we are now a net exporter. China went the other way, further expanding its already high import volume.

The advantage of energy independence is your economy is less subject to foreign pressure. This no doubt explains some of the US relative strength. Meanwhile, Europe and China seem set to compete against each other for energy produced elsewhere

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