How do Americans use oil and gas?

Feb 26, 2022

Dale Janway, Carlsbad Current Argus | February 26th, 2022We continually hear from people who are against fossil fuels, and are wanting to shut down the industry. Do these people not understand the industry and everything it does for every one of us?

I recently went back and looked at what is made possible by fossil fuels, and the list is astounding. There are over 6,000 items, where oil and gas is used in some form, on the list! Not even counting the fuel that powers our cars, our trucks, our trains and our planes, the list is extensive. Just to name a few, this includes Velcro, cleansers, tools, plastics, sports equipment, medicines, safety gears, electronics, toiletries, construction materials, home furnishings, plastic pipes, bandages, linoleum, caulking, aspirin, cortisone, antihistamines, lipstick, perfume, dentures, nail polish, brush and comb, hair color, contact lenses, shampoo, hearing aids, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, toothpaste, vitamin capsules, moisturizer, lip balm and  rain jackets.

All of these items are so often taken for granted but they are a part of our everyday life. 

Fossil fuels are also used to produce energy in the home. They are burned to produce heat in large power stations. They are used to produce electricity and, of course, to power engines.  Also, fossil fuels are important for lifesaving medical devices, such as MRI machines and pacemakers.  They add asphalt for our roads. The manufacturing of boats, bikes, scooters, skateboards and even electric cars require oil and natural gas products and components. We also can’t forget about diapers, pacifiers and toys. What about fertilizer and tractors, and combines that plant and harvest food?

Another good example of fossil fuels usage is building and operating a wind turbine.  Inside the turbines are all sorts of moving parts that must be continually lubricated.  The windmill blades are made from carbon-reinforced resins, which is made from petrochemicals.

At present, solar panels use plastic polymers in the coatings, lots of mineral resources and energy intensive manufacturing, which use fossil fuels. Even “green” energy sources rely on fossil fuels.

It is hard to shake the feeling that our fossil fuel industry is under siege at a state and local level. Banks are battling “quotas” seeking to restrict how much they can loan to the fossil fuel industry. Such sanctions are typically used against enemy nations, not local companies. The ban on drilling on federal land no longer exists, but federal agencies in Washington, D.C. seem to be doing everything they can to slow the process.

At the state level, regulatory agencies are slapping oil and gas companies with hefty fines before these companies have any opportunity to address the issue.  Moratoriums on drilling are issued outside the scope of the regulatory process.  While the most devastating bills did not pass through the legislative session, there is reasonable concern over the industry simply being regulated to pieces.

Energy expert Denise Greenlaw Romanos wrote: "If every country that is a party to the Paris accords meets its nationally determined commitments (NDC’s) the world will still be forty-two percent reliant on fossil fuels in 2050 with 2 billion more people and a world economy twice as big as today.  What role should New Mexico’s Oil & Gas resources play? Policy makers need to be realistic.”

Our national security depends on oil and gas. And our friends around the world depend on America to be strong.

For some, demonizing the oil and gas industry seems to be the latest fashion. It’s time for that to stop, and for us to start working with the industry instead of against it.