A recent report shows that the U.S. is now the global leader in both crude oil and natural gas liquids, with daily oil outputs exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter of this year and the country leading the world in natural gas since 2010. The increased productivity, in large part due to fracking, has helped keep fuel costs from skyrocketing nationwide.
Francisco Blanch, one of the report's authors, explained to Bloomberg that without fracking, U.S. fuel costs would be "completely unaffordable":
“The shale boom is playing a key role in the U.S. recovery,” said Blanch. “If the U.S. didn’t have this energy supply, prices at the pump would be completely unaffordable.”
Blanch explained that while the kind of energy boom the U.S. is experiencing would usually result in lowered costs at the pump, it has thus far served as a price buffer from the turmoil in the Middle East and Africa.
“Typically such a large energy supply growth should bring prices lower," said Blanch, "but in fact we’re not seeing that because the whole geopolitical situation outside the U.S. is dreadful.”
As Bloomberg reports, oil extraction from shale formations in Texas and North Dakota is booming. The use of hydraulic fracking—using high-pressure liquid to break up rock formations and force out oil—is creating a “surge in supply” that, combined with restrictions on exportation, is helping to keep the price of West Texas Intermediate, America’s “oil benchmark,” affordable. The result is relatively stable fuel costs nationwide despite volatile situations in Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria.