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Dependency on Fossil Fuels Essay Sample

Dependency on Fossil Fuels Pages
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For the past two hundred years the United States depends more on fossil fuels than any other power source. Without fossil fuels, the industrial revolution would not have had as much of an impact making United States what it is today. However, we as a country are facing very real problems that we must have to address quickly. We are running out of fossil fuels, and soon we will not have fossil fuels to power our economy and move the country forward. Fossil fuels are a nonrenewable resource, and we are rapidly running out of them. We as a nation need to come up with a plan, otherwise we are going to be faced with very real problems. We are still several decades away from running completely out, but with the negative impact the production and use of fossil fuels have on our environment, we should start planning for alternatives now. Harvesting the fossil fuels and the use of the fuels has a devastating effect on the environment, global warming is the hot topic at the moment.

Global warming is believed to be caused by the emissions from burning the fossil fuels that are released into the environment and damaging the ozone layer. Coming up with alternative energy sources can help boost a struggling economy and also help the environment. We, unfortunately, are still several years away from implementing a total eco-friendly alternative. With the increase in demand for fossil fuels, countries like China and India will have a higher demand as they become more developed. The Chinese government wants to become such a dominant country that each citizen will own their own car. The population in China is such, that if this happens, they will use more than the current world’s production of fossil fuels. With fossil fuels being such a limited resource as it is, this will drive the cost of production up and will thus increase the amount that we as the consumer will pay at the pump. The increase could be what causes the camel’s back to break under the strain of a struggling economy in the United States. The United States fossil fuel consumption comes primarily from other countries. Most of these countries also have the largest populations, and these countries may need to keep the fossil fuels they produce to care for their own citizens.

If this happens, the United States will suffer and could become less of the powerhouse country it is today and be more desolate unless we can start mass producing alternative energy sources that are affordable for the average person. Currently automobiles that use alternative fuel are so expensive that most people cannot afford them and rely on the traditional fossil fuel burning cars. The United States needs to do what we do best and that is adapt and overcome if we are to remain competitive in the global market. The research is being done to find alternative resources to power our automobiles and homes because of the rising awareness of vehicle emissions and the global environment. The fuels being produced for alternatives are known as non-conventional fuels. The different types of fossil fuels are coal, natural gas, petrol and propane. There are also sensitive materials like uranium. These fuel sources are nonrenewable and without alternatives we will be in serious danger of losing out on valuable resources.

Currently there are a few different types of nonconventional types of fuels bio alcohols like ethanol and methanol, bio diesel and stored energy resources like batteries and energy cells, which have been used in many hybrid cars. The use of hybrid cars allows the owners to use less fuel, and also the government gives the tax breaks because of the purchase. The government is trying to boost the sales of hybrid and eco friendly automobiles by offering tax benefits, and many states have carpool lanes that allow hybrids the use because they produce less harmful emissions. Because of the rise in gasoline in the United States, more alternative fuel vehicles are being sold. I have thought about purchasing a hybrid vehicle for the same reason. If the price of fossil fuel continues to rise, our economy will not be able to sustain itself. A few years ago when gas was almost $5.00 a gallon in some states, more in others, it caused a panic. People with SUV’s and trucks, were struggling to fill up their tanks. I drove a mid-size SUV and went from being able to fill up my gas tank for $30.00 to almost doubling that within a week. There were mass gas shortages as well as long lines at the stations that still had fuel. In my area the one station that still had fuel had a line four miles long and police to direct traffic and keep the peace.

Auto sales were down for larger vehicles, everyone wanted the smaller more fuel efficient vehicle. Those not able to trade in their cars were stranded and did not want to leave the house because they did not want to waste the fuel. It caused such a panic in the US that every aspect of the economy suffered. With people not wanting to spend the money on gas, restaurants suffered, travel industries, the housing market, auto sales, etc. Everyone suffered in one way or another. With alternative fuels, scientists believe, the global environmental issues will not worsen. Burning of fossil fuels has caused such a change in the global temperature we are having warmer winters, and hotter summers. Polar ice caps are melting; causing the oceans to rise, and this is believed to be caused from the gas concentrations causing a greenhouse effect. This is everyone’s responsibility and should be considered a social issue that needs to be dealt with immediately. What kind of future are we leaving, and will anyone have a future if this is not taken care of immediately. The United States is dependent on fossil fuels more than any other country in the world and it produces the least amount of fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels are not one of our major natural resources. With our economy built on the use of fossil fuels, without putting an alternative resource into place quickly, we will behind the rest of the world due to our lack of ability to meet the rising cost and demand. With the cost of living being so expensive and the rate of pay not matching the increase, unless we can do something different, the United States will not be able to compete on the global front. We may become a third world nation. The United States has a department called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and they are responsible for imposing stringent restrictions on toxic pollutants emitted into our atmosphere. Because we do have an abundance of coal it is a low cost fossil fuel that is being used in the country’s mean generators. Coal, being the dirtiest of the fossil fuel resources, is responsible for generating the most air pollutants into the ambient air and causing the most ill-health effects. The EPA wants to regulate the amount of pollutants these coal using generators can produce by having a new technology that will regulate the amount of pollutants released. The costs are high to install the new units, but in the end it will mean the units can produce power more economically. Technological innovations have improved efficiency and reduced emissions.

The new EPA regulations regarding air pollutants are likely to mobilize the installation of emissions reducing equipment, including FGD systems, in industrial facilities across the country. With the retirement of older, inefficient coal-fired plants, there will be a strong need for their replacement given the high electricity demand in the US. With air emission regulations becoming more stringent, all the new capacity additions to replace the inefficient coal-fired units will have emission control units such as FGD installed and this is also expected to drive market growth. Until 2010, as a result of the financial crisis that started in 2008, the power sector did not witness the expected new-build plants. However, as the country is back on the road of economic recovery, renewed investments in the power generation sector are expected, and there are already around 85 coal-fired power plants that are either planned or under various stages of construction and expected to be commissioned in the foreseeable future. The growth in the fossil fuel burning units, including coal, has been primarily due the large indigenous supply of coal reserves in the Unites States.

The United States has almost 30% of the total coal reserves present across the world. The vast indigenous coal resources available for power generation, along with a large fleet of coal-fired plants have led to a high dependency on this power source. Additionally, while recovering from the financial crisis, utilities seek the low cost fuel options like coal for power generation, which also contributes to the country’s dependency on this dirtiest of power sources. With the cost and risk of fossil fuels to not only our environment but also our economy, why would we as Americans want to wait to utilize alternative fuels to power our country? Because of the belief that we will not run out of the fossil fuel resource for at least one hundred years people feel that they do not need to worry about it now.

They can leave that worry for future generations to deal with. Why though can we not deal with it now and maintain what little environment we currently have and possibly repair it so that there are future generations? The United States as a whole at some point must take a more proactive stand in ensuring our countries future. With our current needs for fossil fuels and our dependency for power generation and transportation and global increase in the price will cripple our country. The United States is already on the brink of collapse due to financial issues. in our coming future the government and its people will have no choice but to start the costly and slow process of removing ourselves from the dependency for foreign oil.

References

Zalik, A. (2008, November). Liquefied natural gas and fossil capitalism. ProQuest, 60(6), 41. GlobalData, . (2012, January). New EPA air emission regulations and high coal dependency to drive FGD installations in the US. Richgels, J. (2002, February 21). Oil dependency cure?; Hydrogen fuel cells could replace fossil fuels. Madison Newspapers, Inc.. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/395222823?accountid=35812 Hansen, U. (1998, n.d.). Technological options for power generation. The Energy Journal, 19(2), 63.

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