Project Independence was an initiative announced by U.S. President Richard Nixon on November 7, 1973,[1] in reaction to the OAPEC oil embargo and the resulting 1973 oil crisis. Recalling the Manhattan Project, he stated that the goal of Project Independence was to achieve energy self-sufficiency for the United States by 1980,[2] through a national commitment to energy conservation and development of alternative sources of energy. [3] Nixon declared that American science, technology and industry could free America from its dependence on imported oil,[4] and establish its energy independence. Nixon wanted 1,000 nuclear power plants constructed by the year 2000.

Some of the important initiatives to emerge from Project Independence included lowering highway speeds to 55 mph (89 km/h), converting oil power plants to coal, completion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and diverting federal funds from highway construction to mass transit.[3]

Despite these initiatives, Project Independence failed to prevent the increase in American oil consumption after the 1973–74 embargo; its dependence on foreign suppliers rose from 36% to almost 50% in 1979,[5] when questions of nuclear energy safety arose domestically, and the next energy crisis emerged overseas.


  1. ^ Nixon, Richard (1973-11-07). "Address to the Nation About Policies To Deal With the Energy Shortages". The American Presidency Project. Archived from the original on 2022-04-18. Retrieved 2022-09-04.
  2. ^ James Laxer (1975). Canada's energy crisis. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company. p. 41. ISBN 0-88862-087-X.
  3. ^ a b Charles E. Brown (2002). World energy resources. New York: Springer. p. 227. ISBN 3-540-42634-5.
  4. ^ U.S. Department of Energy. "Energy Timeline: from 1971 to 1980". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ John Adams, Transport planning, vision and practice, (1981), p.72