Friday, November 07, 2014

Ten Reasons Why America's Dependence on Oil Needs to End

(Clean Air Watch periodically accepts guest postings.  This very interesting piece is from Holly Chavez, a regular contributor.  We hope you find it as informative as we did.)



The United States energy needs are a significant part of global consumption. While the growth of the global economy has had a major impact on increased oil usage, the United States is still a primary player in oil consumption according to many experts. Factoring in the national economy as a whole, it is clear that this is a pattern that cannot continue and must be altered for a variety of reasons, including business expense efficiency.

1. Anticipated increases in oil usage patterns.
The Sierra Club reports that the
United States is still the international consumption leader for oil and burns 400 million gallons of it daily, 70% of which is used in the national rail and highway transportation system. Cars and light trucks alone consume approximately nine million barrels daily and there appears to be little change in the near future.

2. International oil supplies are dwindling.
This situation is a basic issue for concern within the oil production industry, as many pundits say negative productive/consumption ratios will eventually be the permanent status. Although industry experts tend to disagree on when "peak oil" reserves will be reached, which will then trigger a negative ratio, the
outlook for 2015 is not so bleak. But, how long that condition lasts is anyone's guess.

3. Protecting the Petro Dollar.
The U.S. purchases all oil through international markets, so the concept that the United States uses domestic oil is a misrepresentation in many ways. Oil usage data involving the United States is calculated against what the U.S. produces, but the fact of the matter is that oil produced in the United States is submitted to the international market and sold back to the United States. 

This process occurs per the U.S./OPEC agreement from 1971 to accept only U.S. dollars as world currency payment for oil products, establishing the Petro Dollar. Any change in this policy or largely increased negative petroleum production imbalances could ultimately spell real trouble for the U.S. economy and financial system.

4. Uncertain production predictions.
According to Forbes, even though the
production of shale is up 43% in the U.S. since 2008, practices such as the Haliburton Loophole that was signed into law after the infamous energy meeting conducted by former VP Dick Cheney on his first day in office may be seeing darker days. Cheney had been a former CEO of Haliburton. The loophole allows an exemption for dangerous toxic chemicals used in shale fracturing production with respect to EPA regulations for clean drinking water, which also is the current concern with the Keystone XL Pipeline.

5. Compromised national security possibilities.
It is no secret that the U.S. is serving as the world's police and involved in practically every global geopolitical problem. The worst of these areas is the Middle East, which is also the location of the largest portion of global oil reserves with the exception of Russia. Russia as recently entered into an agreement with China to provide Chinese oil needs and Iran may become an additional Asian energy source.

6. The need to grow emerging alternative energy markets and cut out waste
The potential for development of new alternative energy markets has never been greater. Recyclable green energy and natural energy harvesting by implementing wind technology offers a viable option for introducing new forms of low-cost energy, which can translate into profits for many businesses. Forward thinking ideas to reduce energy in the meantime can offer solutions to reduce the carbon footprint by companies.

Many companies are using business process outsource companies to manage energy and utility services in a way to improve their business (which often allows them to curb wasteful energy usage). This management of services enables these customers to focus on their core competencies and manage revenue cycles and high operational costs.  Many business process outsourcing companies share software and other tools with their energy and utility customers that calculate carbon emissions so that they can measure the results of their efforts to decrease their carbon footprint. 

7. Environmental damage reduction.
We only have one planet, and conservation of our ultimate resource is absolutely essential. Sadly, this problem gets lost in the discussion of energy production profits, including clean energy alternatives with potentially endless supplies. The eventual fallout from the use of slant-drilling fracturing technology (fracking) has yet to be fully determined, including association with increased earthquakes in heavy fracking regions.

8. Ultimate ozone damage and air pollution.
Planetary ozone protection is crucial to maintaining life as we know it in every aspect. While the potential for irreversible damage is relatively clear, the argument over global warming still continues both politically and economically. The ongoing
ozone damage from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions, or PAH level, is practically incalculable for the future, but it is clear that reducing recurring damage must be a priority.  

Another important factor of PAH pollution to consider is that they make the air we breathe “dirty.” They are created during the partial burning of fossil fuels such as oil, and this is a concern because they often become suspended in the matter in the air -- which can then be inhaled into our lungs. According to the CDC, PAHs can cause malignant cancers and other genetic damage that can be passed down generations. Eliminating our dependence on oil removes this process which in turn removes much of this pollution from the air; this results  in improved air quality and better health.
9. Non-transportation manufacturing needs could be negatively affected.
A topic that is rarely discussed when assessing the national dependence on oil is the many manufactured products that include petroleum as a primary ingredient. All plastic products include a petroleum component, and the number of manufactured products in this class is much more significant than most people realize. However, economists and corporate engineers understand the need, as do government officials.

10. Development of new employment opportunities and professional careers.
Any new industry sectors can be a real positive for the national economy. Clean renewable energy that can be produced within the borders replacing dependence on international oil markets can serve as a true economic and technological positive while keeping investments in the U.S.

Implementing any technology that can assist in these alternative energy developments will take new and innovative corporate investment and operational models that utilize all advantages available, and having a company involved that can increase marketing effectiveness and efficiency can allow new energy start-ups or redirected energy companies to focus on the necessary technology that can result in real reduction in the U.S. dependence on imported oil. 

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