Conventional Oil, Biofuels, and Fracking: A Comprehensive Comparison

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Conventional Oil, Biofuels, and Fracking: A Comprehensive Comparison.
As our knowledge of energy resources increases, the potential risks and rewards of each become increasingly evident for us. With these revelations also comes an even greater deal of questions as to which is the more feasible, sustainable, and environmentally beneficial option to pursue. The past century has seen our world’s energy portfolio dominated by conventional oil, which has proven to be as precious a commodity as it is an environmental detriment. However, in recent years, newer sources of energy have come increasingly relevant as viable alternatives such as the growing development of the use of biofuels in transportation, as well as the rapid increase in both the extraction and exploitation of non-conventional natural gas stores by the process of hydraulic fracturing.
Naturally, each of these sources of energy has their advantages and potential hazards, many of which are as diverse as the fuel sources themselves. Biofuels are relatively easily extracted and are naturally abundant sources of energy; however, they come with a certain set of moral arguments against their use. In addition, the hydraulic fracturing process that is used to extract non-conventional sources of natural gas allows us to reach energy reservoirs otherwise completely unattainable, but it raises a variety concerns over the safety of the process and the potential environmental impacts that it may generate. The success and feasibility of these fuel types are direct functions of the social, economic, and political influences associated with each type. When compared to conventional oil, the relative ease of transition to non-conventional sources of natural gas is greater than that asso...

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... to that of biofuels and conventional oil whose politics are more nationally based. The EPA is currently conducting research into the potential effects of fracking on public health; however, as of 2005 the EPA is not allowed to control the fracking industry as a result of an amendment made to the Energy Policy Act (Schweitzer & Weaver, 2013).
Finally, is fairly evident that a great deal of differences, as well as similarities, exist between these three potential future energy sources. Therefore, it is fairly cliché, but nonetheless true, to say that our ability to address each of their issues in the coming years will ultimately determine our energy future. Only when we can swiftly and efficiently mitigate the issues surrounding each source’s, infrastructure, politics, and social concerns will we ever be able to truly transition away from conventional oil sources.

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