“White House touts energy policies as rules loom” – Associated Press, 30 May 2014

With continued backlash, President Obama is still trying to sell the US on his new energy policy and attempting to showcase the regulations as economically advantageous through job creation, cleaner energy sources, and protection of the US against foreign turmoil. In a 42-page report to be released on Thursday, the White House contends that the US’s natural gas boon is both economically and environmentally beneficial.

The report’s purpose is to counteract the disapproval of the EPA‘s new regulations on coal-fired power plants, which many expect will inflate electricity costs, thwart job growth, and impede economic prosperity. Conservatives and their allies believe that reducing emissions won’t actually aid the environment, and only become a hinderance to the economy.

The White House reports argues that increased domestic energy production, wind and solar power, and decreased dependency on oil have largely bolstered the security of US energy and the economy, and speak directly to the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon emissions.

The US’s upswing in natural gas safeguards the economy, and everyone’s pockets, if oil-producing countries undergo turmoil and cause oil prices to skyrocket. If we continue to produce energy sources domestically, then the US reaps the benefits—that means more money and more jobs.

Regardless, the US is still the number one consumer and importer of oil. The advent of natural gas hasn’t been embraced by everyone—the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock presents some unease with many environmental groups. The decline in oil consumption started in 2006, though that fall is ascribed to the recession. At the same time, natural gas consumption has increased by 18% since 2005.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

May 30, 2014

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“Obama Sets Deadline for Trucks’ Fuel-Economy Standards” – Wall Street Journal, 18 February 2014

As another element to his new climate policy, President Obama has developed new fuel-efficiency regulations for medium and heavy-duty commercial trucks that are set to be enforced by March 2016. This is a move that Obama hopes will lower the US’s reliance on foreign oil and bolster the economy.

Obama has made climate policy a cornerstone of his second term. While environmental groups, and a trucking industry alliance that encompasses the FedEx and Con-way fleets, were happy about the new regulation, small-time truck operators aren’t so ecstatic, as the regulation could affect truck purchases.

The US has 1.3 million trucking companies, and almost 97% have less than 20 trucks in their fleet. New fuel-efficiency regulations are being compounded with new federal laws that restrict truck driving hours, which help to lower chronic fatigue and any connected crashes.

While heavy-duty trucks only make up 4% of highway vehicles, they consume 20% of on-road fuel. Obama has been trying to pass his climate policy through an executive action, since Congress hasn’t been entirely agreeable. The EPA and the Transportation Department would work together to draw up the new regulations.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

April 1, 2014

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“Worth Gushing Over: Oil Output Eclipses Imports” – USA Today, 14 November 2013

In October, for the first time in almost 20 years, the US created more crude than it imported. While the US still imports 35% of its crude, domestic oil generation is the highest it’s been in 24 years, while oil imports are the lowest they’ve been in 17 years.

What has aided the US in its energy independence? An amalgamation of things, including hydraulic fracking, increased gas prices, and fuel efficient cars and buildings. Obama has also had a hand in reducing energy use, through his new fuel-efficiency standards for new cars and light trucks for 2025.

Fracking came into play when global oil costs were on the rise, forcing the US to further explore new fracking technologies. The method, coupled with the aforementioned improved fuel-efficiency standards and soaring gas prices, have allowed for lowered energy use. Until recently, around 2008, US oil production was on the decline — US energy independence only began increasing with the surge of fracking.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

December 29, 2013

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