There is much concern with the United States reliance on crude oil from unfriendly countries and that we should strive to have energy independence. Of course a vast amount of our imports for oil are from the neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico. The remainder of our imports are from many different countries that always can fill a gap if unfriendly countries decide not to supply to the U.S.
However there is a different case for a material that is used in every electrical motor (there are many in an automobile), this material is classified as a rare earth. This article on RareMetalBlog.com shows our reliance on one country for this material. It also will take years to mine and produce this material in the U.S. and other countries.
Caroline Wilson, Director of Investor Relations, Matamec Exploration, Inc. has written a good article on just how difficult it is to mine and produce these rare earths in the magazine – Magnetics – Business & Technology. Get that magazine and read the article. For more information you can consult this press release that indicates from conception of doing the mining to actual production can take over 7 years.
Consequently we do need to plan ahead in other areas, just not crude oil.