What About Fossil Fuels?

What would we do without fossil fuels? I mean, besides have a cleaner planet?

We probably wouldn’t be able to go anywhere—most people have gas powered cars. And even if you drive an electric car, most trucks are still diesel, and that’s how all your food and that stuff you order online gets delivered. Until we’re all driving plug-in cars, gas stations are going to be around for a long time to come.

And then, you have to wonder—even if you have an electric car, where are you getting your power from? Many people get power at home through their local utility, which could be a combination of anything from natural gas, coal, oil, nuclear, solar, wind, or something else. So it isn’t necessarily as green of a choice as it could be (although better than gas). Unless you’ve got your own solar farm and you’re completely off the grid, you’re probably getting at least some of your power or heat through fossil fuels.

I’d say right now, we’d have a huge problem if we ran out of fossil fuels! We absolutely need to move toward more ecologically responsible and renewable energy sources before it’s too late. Even “clean burning” fuels are not as clean as other options like wind and solar. And while I understand that there are problems with renewable energy sources (solar panels are not cheap to produce, they are made with chemicals and are hard to dispose of, they are not particularly efficient; wind turbines take up space, make noise, and potentially kill wildlife), there is less risk involved. Oil and gas are volatile substances which can be difficult to transport—just think of all the times you’ve heard of oil spills, gas leaks/explosions, and the like. Explosions on the sun are what gives us light. A natural gas explosion could kill people.

That’s why regulations on these materials are important. There need to be rules about how and where these fuels can be transported. We need to keep waterways and soil safe from contamination. Waste products need to be carefully and responsibility disposed of. Sure, if you are a company that deals in fossil fuels, these things are probably a hassle. However, profits from oil have almost never been better, so I think they can shoulder some of the responsibility for keeping the environment in decent condition, don’t you?

And just think of the benefits—cleaner air, because we’re not burning mass qualities of fuel at refineries or on the highways. Less leakage into the ground or oceans—no more oil spills coating the ocean. And if we aren’t all clamoring for oil, maybe the price will come down so that those who aren’t able to move into more high-tech alternatives will actually be able to afford it.

Sure, we can do our part by buying hybrid or electric cars. We can maintain our vehicles properly and drive only when necessary so that we get the best gas mileage we can. We can also put solar panels on our roofs. We can buy more energy-efficient products, use smart thermostats, and unplug things when they aren’t in use. But we also need to be pushing for regulations to help us find better and cleaner options for energy sources. We need the government to step in and push the car companies to continue making electric cars that can go farther and charge faster—and make them more affordable, too. Give your representatives a call and let them know that you want this country to stop our dependence on fossil fuels!