Natural gas is “by the far the cleanest burning” fossil fuel, and produces slightly more than one-fifth of all U.S. energy. Oil and coal combined comprise about two-thirds of all energy consumption. Their combustion produces substantially more global warming and other conventional pollution than natural gas. Combusting natural gas to make electricity produces about half of the global warming pollution of coal, and one-third of petroleum burned in cars. Given its domestic abundance and its lower pollutant levels, natural gas should play a larger role in our energy mix.
Using clean domestic natural gas will also enhance our economy. Since it is produced in the United States, higher gas demand will create more jobs, and using domestic gas in lieu of imported oil would reduce our trade imbalance, keeping energy dollars at home instead of exporting oil dollars overseas. Gas could also be the basis for development of new, clean-energy technologies such as wind-gas hybrid electricity plants, carbon capture and storage, and natural gas transportation fuels.
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