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Issue 1:
Energy Independence

One of the most important issues that Americans face is how to harness energy in a way that's cost-effective and sustainable for generations to come.

Where does our energy come from?

In the United States, all of the energy we use come from one of five sources:

This is how countries like the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Canada, and Germany compared as of 2009.

*Solar, hydro, and other renewable sources

Sources: #1 #2

Until 1957, the U.S. produced as much energy as it consumed. Today, our net energy imports account for 22% of all
energy consumed.

Since the 1960s we’ve doubled our energy consumption and quadrupled our net energy imports.

Sources: #1

Of the total energy the U.S. imports,
5% is natural gas, coal, nuclear, and renewable sources

…and 95% is petroleum.

Sources: #1 #2

Of that 95%, the U.S. imports two-thirds of its petroleum from 5 countries*:

*2011, in thousand barrels per day

Sources: #1 #2 #3

Can we source more energy from home?

2010 was the first year since 1997 that America produced more oil than
it imported.

Sources: #1 #2 #3

Energy experts say drilling more and importing less oil would have only a small effect on gas prices, if any.

Sources: #1 #2 #3 #4

The U.S. consumes about 21% of the world’s petroleum, but has less than 2% of known
oil reserves.

Drilling will not bridge this divide. To lower gas prices, we need to reduce our demand.

Sources: #1 #2

How much of it is renewable/sustainable?

The easiest way to import less oil would be to use less to begin with, which mostly means using less in cars.

Requiring cars to burn less fuel greatly reduces our gas consumption.

Sources: #1

New cars averaged 33.9 mpg in 2010, a 22% increase since 1985.

Light duty trucks (most SUVs) averaged 25.2mpg, a 21% increase.

Sources: #1 #2

Ranging 70 miles or more per charge, electric cars are even more fuel efficient.

To encourage drivers, federal incentives include a $7,500 tax credit* and state incentives include HOV lane exemptions.

*As of 2012

Sources: #1 #2