Energy independence has been one of the most talked-about issues of this election — and if you've filled up your gas tank lately, you know why. With oil exceeding $115 a barrel, and gas prices expected to reach a national average of $4.00 a gallon by the summer, the need to reform our current energy policy is no longer just an environmental issue, it's becoming an economic necessity.







Most Americans agree that we should decrease our dependence on foreign oil, but precisely what steps should be taken? Should we begin drilling in untapped oil reserves in states such as Alaska? Should we invest in alternative forms of energy, such as corn-based ethanol? Should we concentrate on developing more hybrid technology? Or, as some suggest, is the energy crisis really an economic crisis in disguise and so should strengthening the dollar be our first priority?



Senator Joe Biden was among the first politicians to bring the conversation about reforming U.S. energy policy to YouTube. Back during his moment in the You Choose '08 Spotlight, he asked voters what they would do to break America's dependence on oil. He received many responses, including this one from Razela, who suggests that the government offers tax incentives to automakers based on gas efficiency standards. Check out Senator Biden's response to Razela's video.



To learn a little about the economics of oil, watch this video from CBS News, in which Josh Landis and Mitch Butler of the Fast Draw team give a quick but thorough overview of what factors determine gas prices—complete with pictures.



Addressing the issue of alternative energy, Ethan Block of WhatShouldYouKnow offers some interesting facts (and opinions) about corn-based ethanol. Meanwhile, hoping to dispel the stereotype that oil companies only care about profits, John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Company, presented one of the keynote speeches at the first Low Carbon Fuels Conference in Sacramento this April.



Michelle Kaufmann's YouTube Channel is dedicated to helping individuals make their daily lives more "eco-friendly." In this video, Kaufmann shows us how to make eco-friendly candles from renewable resources like soy and beeswax.



If you're environmentally conscious and looking for a laugh, watch this "eco-parody"of the film There Will Be Blood, made especially for Earth Day. And finally, watch this video from shiftinaction, in which environmental advocate Van Jones reminds us that energy independence isn't an isolated issue — it's connected to every issue facing America's future.








Yours,

Steve G.