According to recent data gathered up by the U.S. Department of Energy, we consume an unprecedented 2.5 million barrels of oil a day from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). This accounts for one-third of the world's overall fuel supply. Unfortunately, a vast majority of OPEC's members are currently experiencing political and financial turmoil, especially Iraq. Consequently, our reliance on imported oil frequently results in sky-high prices at the pump and elsewhere in our communities. It is now time for federal officials and major oil companies to step up to the plate and develop breakthrough technologies that will hopefully lower these unbearable costs.
Middle- and lower-class individuals like myself continuously rely on home heating oil and gasoline. In addition, commercial and public service drivers who travel to and from major industries across teh nation depend on dirty diesel, which, according to AAA's most recent Daily Fuel Gauge, has reached a record-high average of more than $3 per gallon. It's not fair for people like me to spend most of their income on natural resources that continue to cause illnesses and other hardships every day.
Even worse, if the cost of gasoline runs up to $4 or $5 a gallon this summer or next, how will we be able to afford other important expenses?
People who came of age in the 1970's may have fond memories of the OPEC oil embargo. It was a chronic certainty that those who recall the energy crisis of that time have had to wait in very long lines at the pump. Some even had to violently confront with local gas station owners they believed to be responsible for such unbearable price tags.
The good news behind the current record highs in energy prices is that conglomerates such as Chevron-Texaco do happen to be using their annual revenues to create cleaner-burning and more renewable sources of energy. Solar and wind power, hydrogen fuel cells, and hybrid autos are just a few of the alternative incentives offered to CEOs by the federal government. A 2004 study conducted by the Tellus Institute says that such energy-efficient initiatives could create millions of new jobs for other sectors of the global economy over the next decade or so.
If our highest-ranking politicians start to pick up the slack sooner rather than later, we may no longer have to deal with war in Iraq, sabotaged pipelines in Saudi Arabia, labor disputes and militant reprisals in Nigeria, oil reserve nationalization in Venezuela, and, perhaps more importantly, corporate manipulation at home and abroad.