Can Natural Gas Make the US Energy-Independent?

The US is now the world's leading producer of natural gas but can the fuel be harvested in an environmentally sustainable way? And can we build the needed infrastructure fast enough?

What's the Latest Development?

Former Volkswagen technician Bob Mann now spends his days converting gasoline-fueled cars into ones that run on compressed natural gas. For every four dollars he used to spend at the pump, he now spends 60 cents for the equivalent amount of energy. Better technology and higher oil prices have made the US the world's largest producer of natural gas. "The US Department of Energy estimates that 482 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exists in the US. At the current rate of consumption, that's a 90-year supply." In addition, the fuel burns cleaner than gasoline, putting fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 

What's the Big Idea?

The most attractive argument in favor of natural gas is to use it as a 'bridge fuel', affording the US greater energy independence until wind, solar, and other sustainable energy sources become more economical. To accomplish that, however, we would need to overhaul the nation's fuel distribution infrastructure, making natural gas lines available to motorists just like gasoline stations. As for the environment, while the methane that makes up natural gas burns cleaner than traditional fuel sources, its volatility in natural form makes it "a potentially bigger contributor to global warming than carbon dioxide."

Photo credit:

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Originally Poe envisioned a parrot, not a raven

Quoth the parrot — "Nevermore."

The Green Parrot by Vincent van Gogh, 1886
Culture & Religion
  • Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1949) is considered one of America's great writers.
  • Poe penned his most famous poem, The Raven, in his 30s.
  • Originally, the poem's feathered subject was a bit flamboyant.
Keep reading Show less

Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

Image source: Ernst Haeckel
Surprising Science
  • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
  • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
  • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Keep reading Show less
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less