Booming oil and gas production is providing an array of economic and environmental benefits for consumers and investors in the U.S.
Domestic oil production recently surged to the highest level the United States has witnessed in over 25 years. As a result, the U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level in four years in November, aided by a 10.6 percent drop in oil imports.
Furthermore, the prices of imported goods in the U.S. also fell by 1.3 percent in 2013, largely due to a drop in oil prices. Crude oil price volatility is also at a 20-year low due to a spike in supply, reduced fuel demands, and a geopolitical shift of the global oil markets.
Lowered consumer prices and utility rates, in conjunction with rising household incomes, provided the average American family with an estimated $1,200 boost in disposable income in 2013.
The oil and natural gas industry has emerged as the top job creating sector in the U.S. Job growth in oil and gas has increased by 40 percent since the beginning of the recession. Furthermore, statewide employment has grown faster in states associated with shale production.
The shale gas boom has also provided an abundant source of cheap energy for the energy-intensive manufacturing industry. U.S. natural gas prices in 2013 were nearly four times less than what European and Asian manufacturers paid.
This competitive advantage has stimulated both foreign and domestic investment in the U.S. manufacturing sector, and is expected to lower the U.S. trade deficit by over $164 billion by 2020.
America’s shale oil and gas revolution is also slowing inflation and lowering interest rates for U.S. consumers. Furthermore, natural gas plants emit only a fraction of the smog-causing gases, and slightly more than half of the greenhouse gases, emitted by their coal-burning counterparts.
By replacing coal with natural gas for power generation in the United States, greenhouse gas emissions are falling, and the transition has helped the U.S become the world’s leader in reducing CO2 emissions.
The United States overtook Russia as the world’s leading oil and gas producer in 2013, effectively reducing the nation’s reliance on foreign energy sources and lowering transportation costs for U.S. consumers.
The U.S. is now on pace to become an energy superpower. What was once considered the nation’s greatest economic vulnerability is now responsible for its recovery, booming manufacturing, increased foreign investments, and upending global energy markets.