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Solar Power Reduces Our Dependency on Oil

As the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks approaches, bloggers are talking about September 11, 2001: Where were you on the morning the towers fell? What was your first thought? How did your life change in the hours, days, and weeks following the attacks?

Certainly, we live in a different world today, with more stringent TSA guidelines when we fly, a bit more caution in everything we do, and the solemn knowledge that we — neither as a country nor as individuals — are entirely more vulnerable than we ever might have imagined. When the terrorists flew the first plane into the World Trade Center, it shook the very fabric of American culture.

Oil and the Middle East
Unfortunately, one very significant aspect of U.S. life has not changed since the September 11 attacks, and that is our use of foreign oil. The entire Middle East is still a battlefield, yet we purchase one of our most crucial resources from this region. Statistics vary widely — some bloggers believe we purchase only 12 percent of our oil from the Middle East, while others guess the number is closer to 43 or even 50 percent.

The U.S. Energy Administration published a table earlier this year that shows we import about 25 percent of our oil from the Middle East. Iraq is one of our country’s top ten crude oil sources.

Are we entirely dependent on Middle Eastern oil? No. Is it significant to us? Absolutely.

Any disruption in the supply of Middle Eastern oil, including war, tends to drive gas and home heating oil prices up. When gas prices go up, it costs more to transport our food supply and soon, grocery prices rise, too. (As an aside, this is just one reason eating locally grown food is a green and cost-effective practice.)

Little Changes Make a Big Difference
But there’s good news. The fact that our country’s so-called “dependence” on Middle Eastern oil isn’t as bad as many believe means small changes can make a big difference. Changes like using solar hot water heat instead of oil to heat your hot water, or using solar PV panels for radiant floor heating can make a big difference in reducing the amount of oil our country needs.

With only 5 percent of the world’s population, we use 27 percent of the world’s oil. Solar energy is one solution to reduce our oil consumption and our ties to the Middle East. It’s also cleaner than oil, easier to access, constantly renewable, and so far, the price of solar power is not connected to world politics. The more you think about all these factors, the case for solar power keeps getting brighter and brighter.

In the days and months following September 11, 2001, people experienced renewed patriotism for our country. I can’t think of a better way to help secure our country’s future, while saving yourself money (another trait that could be considered very “American” today!) than a solar PV installation.

(For a free, customized solar savings report, click here.)

Post Written by
A full-time freelance writer, Dawn frequently covers energy efficiency, green living, and topics like LED lighting and whole home control systems for a number of blogs and technology trade magazines. Dawn is proud to live in New York as the state vies to beat out New Jersey as the East coast top dog of solar energy and is waiting for the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate legislation to pass before installing solar panels on her Long Island home.

1 Comment

  1. Daniel says:

    I fail to see how cutting down on our usage of electricity, which is generally generated by coal and nuclear power, can reduce our oil consumption. Don’t get me wrong–I am totally in support of using solar and wind energy to generate our nation’s electricity and replace the more polluting and hazardous types of energy production, but this just doesn’t tackle the oil issue at all.

    Getting our 250 million gas guzzling cars replaced with hybrids or electric vehicles WOULD be a start to reducing our dependency on foreign oil.