You’ve been hearing for years about how American politics and commerce are enslaved to Middle East oil-rich regimes. Well, the U.S. is about to gain a bit of wiggle room from that painful dynamic.
Over the past several months, the U.S. has steadily closed the gap on Saudi Arabia, and this month or next, it will finally surpass the long-standing leader as the world’s top producer of oil. The flush oil days in the U.S. are in stark contrast to the state of affairs in the run-up to the 2008 election, when economists were warning that U.S. oil production was on a longtime downward trend.
The boom has created a tremendous number of new jobs and powered local economies. But it isn’t making everyone happy. It’s fracking that has allowed the U.S. to go on such a great run in recent years (because it has made tapping certain pockets of oil suddenly economically viable), but that drilling process also causes water and air pollution. Also, while it’s great that America is now producing so much oil, the U.S. is still the world’s top consumer of oil, too.
It’s unclear how long the oil boom will last—the International Energy Agency expects production to grow throughout 2016. But North Dakota and Texas are really the states to thank for America’s emerging oil supremacy. Here’s a map of oil production in the U.S. that shows the big gainers (and losers—yes, production in some states has declined) over the past decade.
Authored by Abigail Tracy via vocativ.com.