Posted January 30, 2017
You don’t have to look very far at all to see the American energy renaissance at work for U.S. consumers. Start with U.S. retail gasoline prices since 2009 (U.S. Energy Information Administration data):
Falling prices at the pump reflect reduced crude oil prices worldwide – in good measure, because of rising U.S. crude output over the same period:
Increased global supply puts downward pressure on crude prices. The result for consumers is significant savings when they fill up. AAA estimates Americans saved, on average, more than $550 per licensed driver in 2015. That’s more than $115 billion compared to the previous year, which translates into increased disposable household income for individuals and families, as well as cost savings to manufacturers and other businesses for transportation of raw materials and finished goods. Consumers ultimately benefit from those savings, too.
For this we can all thank the U.S. energy renaissance – increased domestic oil and natural gas production, most of it safely developed with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. That output has made the United States the world’s leading oil and gas producer.
Yet, the benefits of abundant American energy extend beyond our fuel tanks. According to one study, plentiful natural gas from shale put an extra $1,337 back in the pocket of the average U.S. family through lower home energy costs and lower costs of goods and services. Here’s another data point: Since 2008, roughly the start of the America’s production surge, average annual energy costs per U.S. household have dropped 14 percent, lowering Americans’ overall cost of living.
American energy is providing savings benefits to consumers but also energy – the energy to travel, build, create and manufacture. U.S. industrial electricity costs are 30 to 50 percent lower than those of overseas competitors, which is helping increase business investment here at home. The American Chemistry Council says U.S. chemical production grew 3.6 percent in 2015 and is projected to increase through 2020 with more than $164 billion in investments expected to come on line.
This broad economic support provided by America’s oil and natural gas companies benefits individuals and families. Every job is a paycheck that Americans use to pay bills, buy groceries and otherwise support themselves. Consider:
- The U.S. oil and natural gas industry supports 9.8 million jobs and 8 percent of the economy.
- America’s refining sector supports more than 1.2 million jobs, with an annual salary that, on average, is more than twice the national average.
- Among 1.9 million new jobs projected for industry through 2035, more than 55 percent are expected to be blue-collar positions – great opportunities for workers with high-school diplomas and some post-secondary education.
- Industry job opportunities through 2035 are further projected to include more than 700,000 positions to be held by African American and Hispanic workers and nearly 300,000 jobs to be filled by women.
In his 2017 State of American Energy remarks, API President and CEO Jack Gerard stressed the importance of getting energy policy right so that American energy can continue to broadly benefit our country:
“In this New Year and at the start of this new Congress we have an opportunity to change the national conversation when it comes to energy policy. We have a once in a generation opportunity to find solutions for many of today’s most pressing issues, including creating middle class jobs, tackling income inequality, ensuring sustained affordable energy for consumers and enhancing our national security. And for all of these goals, and others, the 21st century American energy renaissance offers a solution.”
See: 100 Days of Energy
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.