Oil, which, of course, is the primary fossil fuel used in the United States (and around the world), contributed 43 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2005, according to the EIA. Burning oil releases fewer carbon dioxide emissions than burning coal but more than natural gas. Aside from its notorious carbon dioxide-emitting effects, oil has been associated with many other environmental hazards in the United States. These have included pipeline explosions, oil spills from tanker ships, and destruction of marine habitats caused by offshore drilling and dredging (a type of digging to extract oil). The "gushers" of oil that were characteristic of many early oil discoveries in the United States were also environmentally damaging in that they spewed oil into the areas surrounding the oil fields. Oil spilled from tanker ships is an especially thorny environmental issue because the oil can remain on the shoreline or water surface for years after the spill, continuously releasing its toxic hydrocarbon components into the marine environment and poisoning marine creatures. Oil, as previously mentioned, is primarily a fuel for transportation.

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Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

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