During the oil crisis of the 70s the oil tax was changed to 45-PERcent instead of 45 cents. At the same time the fuel efficentcy standards were raised with a future automatic steps built in.
By the early 80's the first steps combinded with rising oil prices lead to the first Hydrid cars. by the 90s all the auto manufactures had a Electric Car on the Market, by 2000 all the parts came together and US oil Prodution exceeded the US demand for the first time since the Korean War. In 2004 the US was a net oil exporter, and OPEC collasped.
No imports could be aranged several ways. One rather far out way (and I don't claim this is at all likely, just an outside possibility) is this:
In the 1950's, the US Navy is looking for a better power plant than the fission plants the submarines use, and fusion is a theoretical possibility. (Another possibility is the nuclear powerd aircraft--fission power would never be practical for such a machine.) A Manhatan Project scale research program is put into place, and fusion power is developed in the 60's or 70's.
Although it is expensive, it scales up well, and, in 1981, the prototype synthetic fuel plant is in place, taking water and carbon dioxide, and creating hydrocarbons.
When oil prices get high, the government builds several more synthetic fuel plants, unvieling them at the same time OPEC declares that prices are going up. The government sets a price, depending on what it wants to acomplish, and the expence of producing.
Price slightly higer than OPEC's standard price forces them to keep things reasonable, without destroying them, or the domestic oil companies.
Prices a bit lower makes the domestic oil companies focus on distribution and the economical wells, and makes OPEC hurt some.
Prices very low smash OPEC forever, hurt the domestic oil companies some as they adjust to the new role as distributors, not sellers.
The US becomes the world's energy suplier, untlil the secret of fusion power is stolen, rediscovered, or given away.
Perhaps I'll use the wide adoption of electric automobiles and bi- and tricycles in my 1776 WI. That and a weak American union/empire should hinder the development of highways and promote local power generation / consumption.
Three Mile Island melts down because the engineer who spotted the stuck valve guage malfunction has an accident on the way to the reactor. Central New Jersey bites it, big time.
Any politician who accepted nuclear energy company money gets massacred at the next election. Left wing Democrats wind up running things, with some northern 'green' Republicans.
The left wing Democrats go into alternative energy in a big way, posting a thousand prizes of a million dollars each for best technology improvements. The inventors then sell the technology to industrial companies.
We get a cheap solar concentrator photovoltaic system, displacing natural gas for peaking power. The increased demand for photovoltaic silicon acts as a subsidy to the semiconducting silicon wafer industry, too.
We get a way to make electrolytic titanium (corrosion proof and abrasion resistant) piping for coal to synthesis gas (CO + H2) for catalytic production of methanol. Methanol takes over the gasoline industry.
We build lots of large windmills, and as we build more we go down the technology curve to make them cheaper. By the time we've replaced six percent of the electricity production they are beating coal power costs.
We build hybrid cars to run on gasoline only part of the time, and on batteries for the first 50 miles. They weigh a lot more and are safer to drive, and essentially never wear out, except you have to recycle the batteries yearly.
We give the rest of the world this technology so they don't need to import oil from the Arabs, the Iranians, the Chinese, or the Soviets. This defunds our most important opponents.
We shrink the armed forces and use the money to make us energy independent by paying for the above. We liberate lots of engineers and technical workers to work in the new industries.