If you go to the pump with any regularity, you've probably noticed the high price of gassing up. But with the recession, there was not only a decrease in gas and oil usage but a rush to find an alternative so as not to rely on foreign sources. Thanks to horizontal drilling and "fracking," North American sources have been tapped into that can make the future look bright--for gas and oil companies, that is.
In a post by The New York Times today, the idea of having plentiful supplies of domestic oil and gas could far outweigh the environmental costs. (Think gas and oil leaking into water supplies à la the documentary Gasland.) As with the economic downturn, there was a sudden push to reserve energy, ride bikes, or even change lightbulbs to CFLs to save some cash. But when jobs start to return as does spending, going green goes right out the door.
See an excerpt below.
Fuel to Burn: Now What?
By JAD MOUAWAD
Published: April 10, 2012
Cheaper fuel produced domestically could reduce the cost of shipping and manufacturing, trim heating and cooling bills, improve the auto market and provide tens of thousands of new jobs.
It might also pose new environmental challenges, both predictable and unforeseen, by damping enthusiasm for clean forms of energy and derailing efforts to wean the nation from its wasteful energy habits.
But for Americans battered by rising gasoline prices, frustrated by the dependence on foreign oil, skeptical of the benefits or practicality of renewable fuels and afraid of nuclear power, the appeal of plentiful domestic oil and gas could far outweigh the costs.
Just a few years ago, the dominant theme in discussions about energy was of declining production and the fear of running out of oil. Even today, political tensions in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf, have fanned fears of supply disruptions that are keeping prices high.
But a new boom in energy production in recent years has upended these expectations in record time. High energy prices led to a wave of successful oil and gas exploration in North America, including in fields that were deemed uneconomical only a few years ago. Using techniques like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, oil companies are tapping into deeply buried reserves in shale rocks and in the ocean’s depths.
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Image courtesy of NYTimes.com.