In the wake of the disastrous and ongoing British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it may be time to consider some of the ramifications of our national dependency on oil.
It’s time this country honestly focuses on developing biofuels, incentives and sub-sidies for car manufacturers to produce more hybrid and electric vehicles, and tax incentives for using public transportation.
These are all viable places to start looking for a real solution so this tragedy, which is killing wildlife up and down the Gulf Coast and displacing millions from their homes, never happens again. But they don’t address the real problem.
Some will blame BP and say the oil spill was caused by the company’s need to move faster to maximize the profit margins.
Others see that the real problem is not one BP spill. Rather, it is the country’s overdependence on fossil fuels.
Used in everything from plastic to gasoline, oil is arguably one of the foundations of American life. According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2008 alone, the United States consumed 7.14 billion barrels of oil. That puts the U.S. at almost 23 percent of the all oil consumption worldwide.
The use of oil and petroleum products to make plastics is certainly necessary for the continued growth and developement of medicine, food storage, sanitation, and other fields that pertain to the health and well-being of this country.
But according to the EIA, of those billions of barrels of oil, less than 5 percent was used to make plastic, only 331 million barrels.
The rest of it goes to energy production in the forms of gasoline, diesel and commercial energy. The question that comes to mind is, why?
Instead of trying to get stricter regulations on offshore drilling, or stiffer penalties for health and safety violations, perhaps this nation should be turning its attention to ending the cause of this diasaster once and for all.
But the only way these steps are going to be taken is if individuals, the people, take them.
Because as long as the oil business is more profit than loss, the companies involved in providing our energy and fuel won’t take the steps for us.