America's dependence on foreign oil has caused many a sleepless night for presidents, military strategists, and Americans who have wondered if there's a way to sever the country's tether to not-always-friendly petroleum providers.
Our stated need for the crude oil other nations seem to have in abundance -- and our apparent willingness to pay big bucks for it -- seemed to ensure a long future dealing with and kowtowing to nations who may not have our best interests at heart.
But for the first time the trend appears to be reversing, with a 20 percent reduction in imports from OPEC nations over the last three years, a burgeoning natural gas industry and a steady climb in oil production, new drilling practices and new fields being developed nationwide.
Add to that the fact that Americans -- often portrayed as gas-guzzling rebels with one hand on the fuel pump and the other on the throttle -- appear to be using less gasoline and trading in their Mega-Trucks and Hummers for more fuel efficient vehicles.
It is not known if this trend can be attributed to a general re-thinking of our committment to the almighty auto or a general unwillingness to pay higher gas prices with money we don't have as a result of the recession.
But government officials point to an overall decline in import and use of foreign oil in the last five years, from 60 percent in 2005 to 45 percent last year. Energy experts predict that trend will continue in the coming years.
We'll see. In the meantime we'll put the question to you: Can America wean itself from foreign oil? And what do we need to do to make that happen?