Whether you realize it or not, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been benefitting your everyday life for the past seventy years. As fracking has grown in prominence, it has drawn controversy every step of the way.
If you listen to the handful of people who plant themselves outside otherwise productive fracking sites throughout the United States, you might believe that hydraulic fracturing is the worst thing to happen to planet Earth since the last Ice Age. For all their dogged protesting and legal battling, anti-fracking protestors have been unable to provide substantial numbers on quite the same scale as the oil and gas industry.
The numbers against fracking tend toward the theoretical. Fracking might contaminate groundwater. Fracking might cause catastrophic earthquakes. For all their claims of the inevitable harm caused by fracking, the increasingly vital oil and gas industry has already produced some pretty compelling results of its own.
In 2016, Americans saved $115 billion at the pump thanks to lower gas prices. All that cheap gasoline was due to the increase in domestic fracking.
The average resident of the United States pays 80 percent less for natural gas, thanks primarily to domestic fracking efforts.
For the first time in 40 years, America’s manufacturing sector isn’t stagnant; it’s growing.
One 2016 study found that a ban on hydraulic fracturing would kill 14.8 million jobs, increase the annual cost of living by about $4,000, and ultimately reduce household incomes by around $873 billion after just five years.
Thanks to fracking, the United States has been able to abandon outdated forms of energy production in favor of cleaner-burning hydraulic fracturing. In so doing, the nation has reduced CO2 output by 200 kilotons a day.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that fracking will increase the United States’ GDP by about two-thirds of one percent by 2020. If that doesn’t sound like much, let’s put it another way. The United States stands to gain more than $123 billion in annual revenue by 2020. That’s not chump change.
When taken on its own merits, it’s possible to see fracking for what it is: an evolving industry that’s integral to the United States’ economy as well as the nation’s day-to-day life.