In 1973, the oil-producing nations of the Middle East stopped exporting oil. Oil prices rose. Economies across the globe suffered. In the United States, people waited in line for hours to buy what little gasoline there was. The embargo was a cold slap in the face to the rest of the world. Governments scrambled to find new ways to deal with the energy crisis. Eventually the oil-producing countries lifted the embargo, but our thirst for oil continued. Today, humans consume 85 million barrels of oil a day [source: Cocks]. Americans use nearly 18.7 billion barrels a day [source: Central Intelligence Agency].
While growing sustainable energy crops at home will lessen the nation's reliance on foreign oil, most experts agree it will not solve our energy woes in one blow. Instead, biofuel use, coupled with long- and short-term solutions such as raising fuel economy standards for motor vehicles; enacting tax incentives for hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles; and increasing the use of all renewable fuels will help the United States -- and the world -- wean itself off oil.