I think there is a huge interest in the possibility of America shifting away from an oil dependent lifestyle. I do however think that in the near future it will be very hard to become oil independent. There is a lot of money being invested in alternative energy sources but most of the technology is still very far away from becoming commercially feasible. In the long term however it will very likely that America will become oil independent, possibly due to newer technology or due to a lack of oil.
I think that wouldn’t be hard. Israel and Denmark are in the process of building a countrywide network of electric car charging and battery-swapping stations that can be completed in just a couple of years. There are plenty of electric cars on the market. It is easy to replace all of current energy production from petroleum with well-established alternative technologies – solar, wind, and other renewables. Airplanes may not be easily powered by electricity, but Boeing is working on biofuel-powered ones that should be available in a couple yars. This will eliminate the majority of petroleum consumption.
However, we will still require oil. The chemical industry runs off it, and pretty much any today’s product will include something that used materials from oil: plastics, waxes, lubricants. coatings, dyes, synthetic rubber (including rubber for those electric cars), and a million others. There are few if any green substitutes for these. Then there’s also bitumen for roads (to make asphalt) and roofs. However, our oil supply should be more than sufficient for these purposes, so we will have much longer time to find oil substitutes before we run out of it.
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