One of the issues with producing all that natural gas is the amount of methane that is released into the air at the well-head. People who want only battery-operated vehicles (recharged with electricity that is produced solely from non-fossil sources), or hydrogen fuel cells have used this free methane as one of their arguments against using natural gas as a replacement for diesel that is largely made from imported oil.
Oil has a minor role in the production of electricity. According to AP reporter Kevin Bego,
"Since power plants that burn natural gas emit about half the amount of the greenhouse gases as coal-fired power, some say that the gas drilling boom has helped the U.S. become the only major industrialized country to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions."
Better mechanical techniques will continue to decrease the amount of methane released into the atmosphere even with more natural gas being recovered.
The EPA reported that 145 million metric tons of methane was released by natural gas drilling in 2011.
The next largest factor? "Enteric fermentation," accounts for another 137 million metric tons of methane released by cows when they…well, when cows are being cows. There is nothing to suggest that cows will become more efficient.
A recent New York Times article recently found that major shippers like UPS are moving away from imported diesel to domestic natural gas. Natural gas is cheaper than diesel, it is about 30 percent cleaner, and it is ours.
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