The United States has become dependent on crude oil as an energy source and imports over ten and a half million barrels of crude oil a day. The United States has increased its efforts to produce oil domestically in order to reduce its dependence on foreign oil supplies. In the process of increasing its domestic oil production, the United States has had to deal with the unintended environmental byproduct of extracting oil. In recent years, the United States has looked at new ways of cutting it reliance on crude oil by developing more efficient and alternative fuel sources.
In 2012 the United States (US) produced approximately 7.03 million barrels of crude oil a day and imported 7.58 million barrels a day (EPA, 2013). The US has dropped its oil imports to 36%, which is 30% less than in 2006 (Walsh, 2013). This is due in part to the US using less crude oil and producing more fuel-efficient cars and turning to alternative fuel sources (Walsh, 2013). The US has put a bigger emphasis on reducing its dependence on foreign oil sources.
Over 50% of US oil crude is refined into gasoline that is mostly consumed by cars, trucks, and SUV’s (UOD, 2013). The second biggest portion of the refining process is used for diesel fuel, heating fuel and jet fuel. This accounts for approximately 40% of the fuel that is produced from the refining process (UOD, 2013). The remaining 10% is used for residual fuel (UOD, 2013).
Oil spills have occurred throughout the history of drilling. When the topic of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill is discussed, it is common for people to remember the images that were in the news stories day after day. Ducks drenched in black, giant clouds of oil floating in the waters, and endless amounts of coastal habitats destroyed. Then, there was also the affect that it had on the commercial fishing sector. For month after month there was confusion about whether or not it was safe to eat anything from the areas that were damaged by the spill. Many families who had been selling fresh fish for generations, had to close. They feared that if what they were selling (crabs, fish, oysters, or shrimp) had ingested oil, it could make someone sick and they did not want to be responsible for it. The reality of the situation is that although the mess got cleaned up, it will be a while before people actually know what those chemicals used to clean the spill might to do the marine life or the humans who ingested those fish. Although today the community in Louisiana points to record tourism revenue and a more abundant post spill seafood catch as evidence of the gulf rebounding, it is now 2013 and some people still feel that there is no point to even trying to keep their businesses going. One resident says, “On the state ground -- on a perfect weather day, keep that in mind -- it's 20 sacks a day. Twenty sacks a day at $30 a sack is $600 and $300 worth of fuel. $100 worth of other expenses and I pay the deckhand, I got $150 a day on a perfect day" (Smith, 2013). The impact of the spill was a significant $2.4 billion on the seafood production of Louisiana (Greater New Orleans, 2010). While some families planned to shut down their businesses only for the clean up, many were not able to come back. “My fellow fishermen who fish crab and who fish, they're feeling the same thing," Barisich said. "You get a spike in production every now and then, but overall, it's off. Everybody is down. Everywhere there was dispersed oil and heavily oiled, the production is down"(Smith, 2013). According to reports for Louisiana, blue crab has been off about 18% and brown shrimp is still down about 39% compared to the 2002-2009 catch (Smith, 2013). In the end, some people took settlements from BP and others waited to see if they could start their lives again, but that has become a difficult task for those who still remain on the docks. There are several consequences when accidents occur because