The following essay is a sample of persuasive writing. I chose this essay because it was one of my longer pieces and it involved a large amount of research and planning to create this essay. I have revised the essay by correcting grammar errors. I also made sure that I corrected any possible misconceptions that could possibly lead a reader astray.

After careful revision, I did my best to eliminate any generalities that took away from the message of my piece. I added a distinct policy that could be implemented to correct a present problem that faces our country.

Joe Kerwin

Professor Robin Kramer


LA 101H

The Most Dangerous Dependency

One of the most dangerous commodities in the world is oil. This viscous liquid has been causing problems throughout the world for many years now. Everything from economic embargoes to outright war have been products of the quest for black gold that powers the modern, industrialized world.  Without oil, the United States of America would simply be shut down and this country would be powerless to do anything but crawl because oil is what moves this nation and its people’s way of life. Oil is the life blood that runs deep in the veins of America. Americans love oil and the comforts it provides. From the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo to the 1991 Persian Gulf campaign, the United States has experienced its fair share of conflicts regarding foreign oil dependency. Oil can be considered the Achilles’ heel of the United States because it is something that can hold this country hostage and halt the movement of the American military, industrial, and civil machine. This country is strong and powerful but a country that is small, but oil rich can forcefully influence American foreign policy and dictate its personal demands towards the United States. The United States would have no choice but to be open and friendly to a country like this. Oil from unfriendly Middle Eastern countries has been paid for with not only Americans money but also the lives of countless young Americans.

            Today, now more than ever, this country has a huge reliance on the continuous flow of foreign oil. More Americans are driving now than ever before. Car ownership is huge in this country, many Americans drive and most people have multiple automobiles. What powers the cars of everyday, hardworking Americans? Oil more specifically, unleaded gasoline.  Gasoline is one of the most important liquids that Americans need, as a matter of fact its importance ranks with water. At this very moment the United States is consuming millions of gallons of oil. For instance, in the year 2010, Americans used a total of 137.76 billion gallons of gasoline which translates to around, 3.28 billion barrels of gasoline and that was just gasoline to power automobiles and other motor vehicles (“How much gasoline does the United States consume?”).  That is a large amount of gasoline. In one single day, on average America consumes 377.58 million gallons of gasoline (8.99 million barrels of gasoline). There are forty two gallons of gasoline in one barrel of gasoline. (“How much gasoline does the United States consume?”). As a superpower, the United States represents only a meager five percent of the world’s population but it purchases and consumes over twenty five percent of the oil of the world’s oil production (“A deepening U.S Dependence on the Use of Foreign Oil is Detrimental to Our very Survival”).

            In addition to unleaded gasoline, Americans also use crude oil for many other different reasons. Oil can be used to heat homes and oil also is used to create plastics and many other synthetic products like lubricants for machinery and other products used both for the commercial and civilian world. Kerosene, wax, jet fuel, and asphalt are all final products that can be produced from crude oil (“Oil Crude and Petroleum Products”).

            This country needs to alleviate the use of foreign oil because quite frankly it can do so much better than importing oil from countries that not only dislike but are downright hostile to the United States and the very set of principles it seeks to instill. As of this moment, the United States imports close to sixty percent of its oil while only producing a little more than forty percent of its own oil for its citizens to use (“Where the US Gets its Oil From"). Although forty percent (which is a large amount) of the oil used by the United States is produced domestically, the United States still relies on the rest of the world for its crude oil consumption. Even though the United States imports oil from friendly countries like Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom, it also imports large amounts of crude oil from unfriendly countries. This must stop because we receive our oil from unstable countries like Nigeria and Angola (“Where the US Gets its Oil From”). And America also buys oil from countries that have been enemies of the United States in the past and the present such as Iraq, the Russian Federation, and Venezuela. Americans must ask themselves why they rely on oil from countries that would do everything to spite them and make the lives of Americans harder. It is a complete contradiction for a freedom loving country to import oil from a country that oppresses its own people and does not afford its citizens the quintessential rights that Americans enjoy on a daily basis (“Where the US Gets its Oil From"). The United States creates unnatural relationships when it relies on other countries for foreign oil. In essence the United States is completely putting itself out on a metaphorical limb and forming relationships with countries that it has nothing in common with besides the fact that these countries have oil and the United States wants to purchase and import that oil. This gives the countries in question the power to dictate to America, the reigning world superpower, foreign policy and other demands (“Dangers of Oil Dependence”). Another dangerous side effect has to deal with the anarchy that oil dependence can cause. If oil is cut off to the United States by any one of the major oil exporters, this country would not have the ability to continue to run at an optimal level. Without the importation of foreign crude oil, the economy of the United States would reach disastrous levels and there would be a general run to gas stations by citizens. A so called “run” on gas stations would cause widespread civil and governmental panic throughout the country. Fear would be rampant as millions of Americans would not be sure if they would have the ability to fuel up their cars or heat their homes. The effects would be long lasting and it would be hard for the country to get back up on its feet after such a catastrophic event. The fear would also spread throughout the world since America is considered the backbone and defender of the free world. War and civil breakdown would be possible as the United States and modern world would grind to a halt. Armed military conflict could possibly be the only way for the United States to regain its foreign oil supply (“Dangers of Oil Dependence”).

            The solution to the problem of foreign oil dependence is not impossible to achieve but it will take a great deal of effort from the United States. This country has always been innovative in finding ways around adversity and rising to the challenge and conquering the challenge. There are many ways for the United States to cut back dependency on imported foreign oil. One way for the United States to slash foreign oil dependency is to start utilizing its own oil supplies such as the oil that resides in the Gulf Coast and the endless barrels of oil that can be found in Alaska. United States Senator Elizabeth Dole has been quoted saying that the United States is “Home to a vast supply of oil, estimated at over two trillion barrels” (“How much oil does the U.S. have?”).  Prices of oil and its products, such as gasoline, would fall and reach more affordable levels for the average American. Two trillion barrels of oil is an unimaginable amount of energy supply for the United States and all that has to be done is for the government to open the areas for where this oil is so foreign oil dependency is greatly slashed (How much oil does the U.S. have?”).

Many opponents argue that the opening up of Alaska to oil drilling will cause massive loss of wildlife as well as the habitat of the wildlife. The major topic that comes up when discussing drilling for crude oil in Alaska is the preservation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The wildlife would not be harmed because the oil companies would have to follow strict rules and keep their operations as clean as possible (“How Much Oil is in the Arctic Refuge?”). The government would make sure that all land would be “reclaimed” once the drilling operations had been ceased and the oil harvested. The oil companies would practically revert the land to the way it was before drilling even started. Surveys will be conducted by expert geologists to determine where the best place is to start drilling before equipment even penetrates the ground and the drilling sites will only take up a minimum amount of land. Senator Frank Murkowski explains that there is “nineteen million acres in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge and oil and gas drilling would only effect one and a half million acres”(“Drilling Won’t Make It Less of a Refuge”). In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it is estimated that there is up one hundred billion barrels of crude oil available for recovery (“How Much Oil is in the Arctic Refuge?”).

In the Gulf of Mexico, safe drilling practices can only yield positive results for America’s oil crisis. Oil companies employ professionals to go offshore and diligently search for the next big discovery of oil. The large oil companies are willing to spend enormous sums of money to ensure that they are extracting oil safely and efficiently without putting the fragile ocean ecosystem in jeopardy. Just off of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico there are estimated to be billions of barrels of oil. Advances in rig and drilling technology allow the oil companies to safely extract the oil and keep oil spills to a minimum (“Drilling Deep in the Gulf of Mexico”).

            In addition to drilling for oil in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, there is an even simpler solution to the endless consumption of foreign oil. Americans can just drive less. Yes, drive less. Once America cuts down on its driving, the prices and importation of foreign oil will fall. By simply reverting to riding a bus to work, using a bicycle, carpooling with friends and coworkers, and walking short distances Americans can reduce their consumption of gasoline. This is not as easy of solution as opening up America’s own oil reserves but it can reduce the use of gasoline and crude oil and it is a simple way for Americans to take action on an individual level. To incite these actions the government can offer tax breaks and other rewards for less gasoline and oil consumption. By offering financial rewards the public would be more apt to reduce crude oil use.

            Other ways to cut down on foreign oil dependence can be to begin the usage of ethanol and other bio fuels. The United States possesses some of the most sophisticated technologies in the world and has the ability to create other means of powering cars, utility facilities, and other pieces of equipment that require a fuel source(“Alternative Fuels”). More fuel efficient cars are a great way to get more out of gasoline and lower the amount of crude oil we have to import. This does not need to be a sudden change but gradually the United States can implement the use of ethanol and other means of fuel that do not require the usage of foreign oil (“Alternative Fuels”).

            The United States needs to enact a policy that is going to protect this country from the tragedy of foreign oil dependence. The United States needs to explore a policy that incorporates the increased use of domestic oil combined with new, non-oil powered technologies. This country needs to implement a system where people who use less foreign oil and try to cut down on importation are rewarded for their efforts.

            If the United States opens up its numerous oil reserves for drilling and actively seeks ways to cut down on the importation of foreign oil, this country will be safer both in the economic and security fields. With its own supply of oil as well as an ample amount of alternative fuel sources like ethanol, natural gas, and hydrogen, America will no longer need to be involved in regions where violence and chaos reign supreme. America will spend less money on guarantee the security of its oil supply since the oil supply is located in this country and once America disentangles itself from the corrupt, freedom oppressing countries that supply oil at steep prices, Americans will not have to worry about oil embargoes and the fear of going without the comforts that oil provides.  Alternative fuel sources will be there to power the country’s vast infrastructure for when the oil begins to run out in the distant future. American citizens must urge their government to shift away from foreign oil and use the U.S.’s own oil. It would be surprisingly easy for the government to change their foreign policy concerning the importation of crude oil once they see that the American populace wants to shift away from importing oil.

            America cannot simply just abandon oil as an energy source tomorrow but it cannot continue to rely on unstable, unfriendly countries for crude oil. America needs to slowly wean itself off of the enticement of purchasing and importing foreign oil. America has the ability and resources to provide its own oil for many years. And once it exhausts its reserves of oil, the United States will have the technology to replace oil with another energy source that will be cheaper and friendlier towards the fragile environment while still powering the country and moving it forward. As rugged individualists who respect and appreciate freedom, Americans must regain their freedom from the nations that provide oil at high prices and even higher costs in the foreign policy department.

Works Cited

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