Get the facts straight on U.S. oil supply |

Get the facts straight on U.S. oil supply

Recently the publisher of The Union, and a letter writer to the editor, suggested that our energy problems would be solved if we just started drilling.

The publisher based his opinion on an oil worker who said, “there’s lots of oil out there,” and the letter writer cited figures, without giving a source, that demonstrated we had about 95 billion barrels of oil that we could tap.

The letter writer wrote, “We have the ability to provide all our energy needs. All we have to do is open up off-limit areas for drilling.”

I couldn’t find any data that supported the oil worker’s claim of 95 billion barrels of oil, but even if his figure is accurate, consider this. The United States consumes approximately 21 million barrels of oil a day (CIA Fact book). At that rate, we would go through 95 billion barrels of oil in 12-plus years. Hardly enough to provide all of our energy needs.

Here’s another fact that will surprise you. It comes from the Energy Information Administration. Our largest supplier of oil is Canada, 18 percent. Next is Mexico, 15 percent. Saudi Arabia is tied for third place with Nigeria at 12 percent.

It’s clear, there isn’t enough oil in the ground, in any form, to carry us on indefinitely. But there is an energy source out there that may become the new fuel for our cars. You’ve heard the word biofuels. However, I’m not talking about making fuel from corn. In five to 10 years, we will be producing biofuels from non-food sources at a production cost of about $1 a gallon. Brazil is well on the way in this field. (Source: “Where will Biofuels and Biomass Feedstocks Come from?” By Vinod Khosla, 2008,

Bottom line here, we don’t need to desecrate our wild areas and oceans to meet our energy needs.

Jerry Henderson

Grass Valley

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