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The Real Costs of Oil- the first of a multi-part series

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You wake up in the morning, turn off the alarm clock, make your morning coffee, take a shower and get ready for your morning drive to work or school. These are the actions of everyday life, and unless you are living off the grid a’la hippies in Northern California, you are burning massive amounts of coal and oil to do it. I’m not just talking about the drive to work, even though the typical American uses more energy for transportation than any other country’s citizen in the world, and Americans, with 5% of the world’s population, consume 40% of the world’s gasoline. The light and heat including water heaters in our homes requires massive amounts of energy, of which 82% is supplied by fossil fuels, replete with dirty asthma-inducing coal fired power plants choking low income neighborhoods throughout this great nation, and oil that has been shipped here on giant ocean barges from middle eastern countries that we seem to always be at war with.

Our morning coffee is not even safe. The vast majority of the food and drink we consume was grown out of our immediate geographic area and shipped in by trucks burning federally subsidized foreign oil as gasoline, not to mention the petroleum by-products that we use as fertilizers and pesticides on our food. You heard that right, we use oil as fertilizers and pesticides on our food crops. And don’t forget plastics, which our alarm clocks are made out of. Plastics are nothing more than oil and chemicals. Oil companies receive $4 billion per year in federal subsidies (free money from the government), and some estimates put that number at closer to $20 billion per year.

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