If you live in the US and you’ve been paying attention, you already know fracking is opening up huge reserves of natural gas and consequently lowering the price, lower by far than most everywhere else in the world. While some might look at that as a sign we should convert all of our internal combustion engines to CNG, which isn’t a bad idea, it’s the boatload of other benefits that make it a real winner.
The plummeting price of natural gas, which can be used to make a vast number of products, including tires, carpet, antifreeze, lubricants, cloth, and many types of plastic, is luring key industries to the United States.
The impact of cheap natural gas on manufacturing could extend beyond the production of various chemicals. Using natural gas as an energy source, rather than a chemical feedstock, could significantly lower costs for manufacturers who use a lot of energy, such as steel makers. (The steel industry is booming already for another natural gas-related reason—it’s supplying gas producers with pipes.) What’s more, cheap natural gas is prompting a shift away from petroleum based-fuels for trucking. Some companies are switching to trucks that burn natural gas directly. Eventually, even diesel trucks could be using fuel made from natural gas.
With a solid base of cheap fuel, energy, chemicals and even steel and a consequent expansion of manufacturing in the US, we have the very real potential of economic recovery. Besides the manufacturing jobs directly resulting from those developments, all of the supporting businesses and industries could see employment rising right along side.
The benefits of fracking are many, it’s safe and even lowers carbon emissions. However, as with everything these days, critics abound and a recent film starring expert geologist, Matt Damon and partially funded by Image Media Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, wholly owned by the government of the UAE tries to make fracking appear dangerous. I wonder why.
On the other hand, if you want to see a film about fracking that looks at it without the Hollywood slant, check out FrackNation set to premiere on January 22 at 9 p.m. ET on AXS TV.
Shale gas is one of the brightest developments in the US in a very long time. With cheaper fuel, energy, chemicals, steel and all of the products made with those materials plus the potential for a real boost in employment, there could be more money in more pockets and a resurgence across the entire economy. Motorcycle manufacturing in this country would directly benefit from all of those things, but even if they design gorgeous new bikes with new technology and create the most effective marketing campaign imaginable, like so many manufactured products, they depend heavily on our economic well being and lower unemployment before customers will feel confident enough to spend a few dollars on something as discretionary as a new bike. If shale gas production continues to expand, we could have a real boom on our hands and there are more than a few manufacturers who can hardly wait to see that happen.
Link: Technology Review