American Dependence on Gas and Synthetic Fuels
Ever since 1944, when the synthetic Liquids Fuel Program was launched in the United States of America, it has been strongly relying on Gasoline, Petro diesel and other fuels for use in vehicles and industries. Their advantages can not be overlooked. But as useful as the production and use of fuels has been for vehicles and industries and for boosting up the US economy, it has nonetheless brought about several negative consequences. Foreign dependence, recession in the economy and the destruction of the planet, are just a few negative impacts. Though the situation may have gotten adverse with their extreme usage, there are still alternative ways of resolving it, owing to emerging technologies and the use of synthetic fuels.
Oil consumption in America is a need highly in demand, ever science the advent of the industrial revolution. And owing to fewer oil resources in America, foreign exporters have allowed the US to import its Oil requirements to fulfill the economy’s needs. Why is the oil consumption in America a grave concern when it eases the production and transportation? The problem began when the dependence on foreign oil increased beyond limits. Recent studies revealed that US imported 11.5 millions of barrels of oil per day to fulfill its fuel requirements, which accounted for 54% of the overall consumption of oil in the country. It pays $5.67 for a gallon of gasoline and $309 annually for the foreign oil. This resulted in a direct link with the foreign economy, whereby producing an adverse impact when the world suffered an oil shock, thus, bringing the US economy down (Future Coal Fuels, 2009).
Then there are planet and environmental issues to be worried over too. Increased fuel consumption only leads to the destruction of pure and clean air and a massive destruction of the world. Owing to sustainability issues and concerns for the planet, the use of gasoline and oil in such heavy amounts has to be narrowed. So what could be done?
A solution is synthetic fuels that promotes economic stability for the country as well as . Synthetic fuels are classified based on the processes they go through. Three common processes are Biomass-To-Liquids (BTL), Gas-To-Liquids (GTL) and Coal-To-Liquids (CTL). The types of alternative synthetic fuels that have emerged owing to advanced technologies include electric, Hybrid, Natural gas, Hydrogen, Fuel Cell, Clean Diesel (low sulfur), Biodiesel (B100) and Ethanol (E85). Electric means of running car only means just start the car and go with no worry of carbon emissions as it does not use carbon at all. This is the biggest advantage it has over the regular fuel. But then again, the electric batteries take up a lot of time to charge and consumer electricity at that (Socyberty, 2009). Hybrid cars use a combination of solar power combined with water and electric. It is affordable and infused no carbon emission. But it is costly to repair the battery if once it gets damaged or stops working (Socyberty, 2009). Natural produces carbon emission but quite less than the regular fuel. It is highly cheap and affordable. But it is a nonrenewable natural resource and relying too much on it would only mean making the world run out of a natural resource (Socyberty, 2009). Hydrogen produces no carbon emissions and protects the environment and is also highly affordable. This calls for the conversion of methane to synthetic gas (EBSCO, 2006). But there are cons to its usage. Firstly, it is not yet available in the market and has not yet been produced for use. And second, using hydrogen would spell a massive unemployment for gas station workers (Socyberty, 2009). Clean diesel uses a low quantity of sulphur and minimizes the carbon emissions. It ensures a safe environment but is highly expensive (Socyberty, 2009). Biodiesel is made up of fats from animals and through the recycling of cooking oils. Although, it ensures clean air, it is highly expensive and can not function in cold places (Socyberty, 2009). Ethanol (E85) which is a combination of 85% of ethanol and 15% of gasoline, ensures minimum carbon emission, but it gives low gas mileage to the cars and only a few cars can use it (Socyberty, 2009). This is part of the revolution towards bio mass fuels, where sugar cane is used for the making of ethanol and combined with gasoline it acts as an alternative fuel (EBSCO, 2009).
The biggest advantage of using synthetic fuels is the reduction in the US’s foreign oil dependence which will only produce fruitful impacts upon the economy. It can reduce 7.5 millions of barrels per day of the foreign oil it currently buys by the year 2025 if it starts to use synthetic fuels as of today. The synthetic fuels also ensure planet sustainability and environmental protection in the form of clean and pure air to breathe in for the American population that is currently choking on gas and pollution air filled with fuel emissions. The advent of synthetic fuel production would also increase employment in the country, with each production facility employing over 300 to 400 skilled workers (Future Coal Fuels, 2009).
It is time that the US government realizes the need to halt the increasing consumption of foreign oil and start focusing on alternative means of fuels and alternative vehicles as well such as electric cars, etc. Although, initially the production and import of oil for the fuel consumption proved highly profitable and useful for the country, but now with increasing dependence on oil for transportation and production, it has become a menace for the economy and the environment, which yearns for a solution. The use of synthetic fuels is a solution, nonetheless, with a promise to sustain the economy and the planet of the United States of America.