Said quite simply, America must become energy independent. We have no other choice unless we are prepared to continue financing foreign governments. But the good news is that we have the ability to, and that Alaska can lead the way.
While U.S. dependence on imported oil has reduced from 60% in 2005 to 41% in 2012, much of this decline was the result of a faltering economy and America still has a long way to go gain energy independence. In 2012, the U.S. spent more than $433 billion overseas purchasing oil that we could be producing domestically. This is shameful. Every step of the way, a vocal minority opposed to any development whatsoever has gotten in the way of the responsible natural resource development that would keep America strong and bridge the gap until the technology and infrastructure for widespread renewable energy becomes economical.
While proposals for a green economy, such as President Obama’s, sound nice, they do little more than use taxpayer dollars to subsidize an industry of unproven technology that is not economically sustainable by itself. Doing this costs the taxpayers money through the subsidies, and causes the price of energy to needlessly increase. For this reason, I introduced H.R. 49, the American Energy Independence and Price Reduction Act which would open a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to environmentally sound natural resource development, and use a portion of the royalties to finance renewable and alternative energy projects.
What many Americans do not realize is how many products are made from a barrel of oil. Someday America’s energy may not come from fossil fuels, but the U.S. will never be able to fully cut our ties to them. In a 42 gallon barrel of oil (results in 44.68 gallons through the refining process), 19.15 gallons becomes gasoline (43%), 9.21 gallons becomes diesel (20%), 3.82 gallons becomes jet fuel (9%), and 1.75 gallons becomes heating oil (4%). The remaining, and most important, part of the barrel is the 10.75 gallons (24%) that compose the molecules that make-up asphalt, plastics, lubricants, etc. Failure to develop this 24% of the barrel will leave the U.S. without rubber, aspirin, syringes, golf balls, toothpaste, and even the synthetics that compose windmills and green cars.
What's in a Barrel of Oil?