American Oil Dependence Essay

1667 Words 7 Pages
American Oil Dependence

Since the oil embargo of 1977, there has been an increased awareness of our nation's energy security. As global population and energy consumption rise, the need for a stable energy supply has become a hot topic and a politically volatile issue. As our negative trade balance grows larger by the day, the United States finds itself in a rather precarious position. We are becoming more and more dependent on Middle East oil.

Indeed, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) predicts that domestic petroleum consumption will increase to 60 Btu by the year 2025. This statistic, in and of itself, is a matter of concern with respect to the greenhouse gas emissions that result from petroleum combustion. However,
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al., 1998). Once this occurs, oil production will decrease until it is no longer economically feasible to extract remaining reserves.

Why then, is there virtually no interest in promoting alternative fuel technology? It is inevitable that at some point, sooner or later, we will not be able to make use of petroleum as a major fuel. The American public, as a whole, doesn't seem to be too concerned with this. Even the government fails to recognize the precarious nature of our energy future. Our own Department of Energy envisions a steady rise in oil, coal, and natural gas consumption for the next 25 years. The same graph shows only a nominal increase in the use of renewable energy technology and a flat-lining of hydroelectric energy generation.

There are several reasons why alternative energy is slow to catch on in our nation. One of the most compelling reasons is the unreasonably low cost of fossil. The government reaches this goal by widespread subsidies of certain industries. The oil industry alone is a recipient of around $8 billion in annual subsidies (Env. Adv. Stat., 2003). This makes the use of crude oil derivatives like gasoline and heating oil much more appealing than other, more expensive fuels. More interesting, is the effect that government subsidizing has on the
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