Until 1970 the US was the swing producer of oil. World oil prices were determined by the Texas Railroad Commission. After that Saudi Arabia became swing producer. Initially prices at the pump soared from just under $2/gal (all values from personal recollection in terms of today's money) to about $2.70 in the 1973 oil embargo. The peaked in 1980 at about $3.7 and then fell to about $1.6 by 1986. They remained low and as recently as 1999 were as low as $1.4. The reached an all-time peak around $4.3 in 2008 and are now at about $2.85 (this AM).

If present trends continue the US could reach 10 MM bbl/day oil production in a couple of years. This 10 MM figure is about what the Saudis produce and what we were producing when we were swing producer. So if the US rises above this figure it could again become the swing producer, but only as long as oil prices remained high enough for fracking to remain profitable. This means a return to pre embargo prices levels of less than $2 are not in the cards as this would require something like under $50/bbl, at which point I think US producers would stop producing. But prices in the sub-$2.5 range could well happen and low prices could well remain in place for a long time.