America: The World’s Top Energy Producer?

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

Swing into your nearest 7-11, Citgo or Wawa and you’ll probably mistake the gas prices for something else. But it’s true, oil prices have dipped significantly, down to under $70 per barrel at the beginning of the month. This has led to significantly lower prices at the pump, as well as additional spending money in the pockets of millions of Americans, and even drops in airline fares.

So, what’s behind all of this economic magic? In many respects, a revitalized domestic energy production industry.

The growth of that industry over the past few years has been instrumental in the rebuilding of the economy. As Americans felt the crunch from the financial crisis and recession, many people were able to head to the west and Midwest to find work in the booming natural gas and oil production fields, both of which had seen a lull over the past couple of decades. But recent access to shale formations across the country — from the northeast all the way out to North Dakota and Texas — have ushered in a new and prosperous age of energy production.

Traditionally, the U.S. has imported great amounts of its petroleum from foreign sources, namely Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and the Middle Eastern OPEC countries. This has led to many issues over the years, from international hostilities to terrorist attacks, and continues to be a major problem in terms of using violence to secure American national interests abroad. The fact is, securing access to cheap and plentiful crude oil has been one of the most important items on America’s to-do list for decades, and billions — if not trillions —  of dollars have been spent over the years to ensure America keeps its interests intact.