By Abby Gross

You don’t usually see it, and you don’t usually touch it, but we use oil constantly, when we travel in cars or buses, when we heat our homes, even when we turn on the lights. In fact, every day, the United States uses 20 million barrels of oil. But oil will eventually run out, and what’s worse, Americans are more dependent than ever on oil for energy. Yes, things have gotten a bit slippery when it comes to oil.

Oil is not the only way to travel and heat our homes. The sun, wind and water are a few of the other available resources that create energy. And unlike oil, these are renewable, which means they won’t run out, they produce less pollution and save money. Great idea, right?

Use of renewable resources like the sun, wind and water is indeed a great idea. But powerful oil companies do not want the development of alternative energy to compete with their business, and these companies have a lot of influence.

Furthermore, sometimes the use of renewable energy sources can even be bad for the environment, such as in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, where hydroelectric dams have caused harm to the salmon population. Many countries have started to adopt various forms of alternate energy. In January 2006 President Bush pledged to decrease American dependence on oil, so it is important to pay attention to whether any changes are made in the coming year.