From the editor:Energy independence for America is a goal we've heard about for decades, and the current boom in energy production in this country puts it within our grasp. The Oklahoman's energy reporters examine how close we are to that goal and what role a number of high-profile Oklahoma companies play in it. On Oct. 7, the special report will continue, with a focus on the path to energy independence and the potential impact on consumers. - Kelly Dyer Fry
OCTOBER 7, 2012
What would energy independence mean for gasoline prices, utility bills, plastics, groceries and other consumer expenses? How would domestic jobs and the potential for a stronger economy affect individuals throughout the country?
It seems everyone knows who is to blame for the United States' failure to maximize its energy resources to become independent of imports: the government.
The pursuit of energy independence raises numerous environmental concerns. Environmentalists have challenged coal for its pollutants and oil and natural gas for fracking, but wind and solar power also raise other issues.
While government policy can set the debate and affect the direction toward energy independence, the individual consumer has a large affect on whether the country can become energy independent.
How you can cut costs
• Unplug appliances that are not being used
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Several of the country's tractor-trailer fleets slowly are converting to natural gas instead of diesel in a move some say is essential to helping the country reduce its dependence on imported oil.
Rapid oil and gas development in new areas of the country has bred mistrust and misunderstanding of many energy companies.
Many options are available for how the country can move toward reducing its reliance on foreign oil.
Some industry leaders and economists weigh in on energy independence.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2012
The wealth of energy options available in the United States and the rest of North America means the continent could fulfill all of its needs in the coming years, experts say.
Some energy industry observers have said that if production continues to outpace demand growth, global energy prices could fall to a level that would hurt domestic producers, causing domestic production to drop. Others, however, say that as the United States and European economies emerge from recession, global growth will boost demand, holding prices at stronger levels.
Texas oilman George Mitchell is credited with discovering how to economically recover natural gas from hard, dense shale rock deep underground. His techniques fueled the oil and natural gas boom over the past five years.
The United States military has been involved in two wars, one in the oil-rich Middle East, and actively patrols and monitors oil choke points throughout the world. Energy independence could change both arrangements.
In 2005, the United States imported more than 3 billion barrels of oil from countries outside of North America at a total cost of about $300 billion. If the country were energy independent, that money could have been spent within the United States.
For several generations, the occupants of the White House have been saying the U.S. needs freedom from foreign energy sources, yet we still do not have an energy policy that achieves it. Here are their exact words ...
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