70% of oil used in America is for driving. Personally, I think it has to do with our country being spread out, there being farther distances from point A to point B, the convenience of being able to drive somewhere (when we could have walked or biked, or used public transit), and the fact that we have huge vehicles that guzzle gas in the blink of an eye.
This question is extremely multi-faceted. There is a fantastic film called “Home” that was released for free to watch on-line and I recommend it to one and all. It touches on the misuse of oil, and many other very important aspects of our world.
I believe one of the biggest contributors to oil use is the inefficiency of our market and manufacturing. Most goods are shipped world wide. We buy foods from other countries that can be grown in our own backyards. We treat luxuries as necessities and this creates a massive consumer market, which is fueled by oil. Oil is used in so many more ways that we initially think. It is used in every process of manufacturing and delivery of goods.
If we eliminate the large consumer demand for luxury products, we would eliminate a large demand on oil and resources. Trouble with that is convincing ourselves that we don’t need ipods, laptops, foreign foods, etc…
Our entire infrastructure, transportation, buildings, roads, bridges, etc. require or have required the use of oil. The Industrial Revolution made America extremely dependent on fossil fuels. America kept with this system that brought us to the level of prosperity we have today, but we failed to see how detrimental oil is to the environment and to humanity as a whole. Virtually everything Americans use on a daily basis requires the use of oil or fossil fuels. It is this convenience and widespread dependency that makes America use so much oil.
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