Can a natural gas boom lead to a renaissance for U.S. manufacturing?
The tapping of vast reserves of natural gas in the U.S. has led to a drop in the cost of production for a wide array of manufactured goods, including tires, carpet, antifreeze, lubricants, cloth, and many types of plastic.
According to MIT Technology Review's Kevin Bullis, lower energy costs are now luring key industries back to the United States. And not only are low U.S. gas prices prompting plans for the construction of new manufacturing plants, but the need for an oil pipeline is helping to spur a steel industry revival.
Bullis says that cheap natural gas is lowering costs for manufacturers who use a lot of energy, such as steel makers. This in turns is helping the steel industry to boom as it supplies gas producers with more pipeline.
Cheap natural gas is also prompting a shift away from petroleum-based fuels for trucking, with some companies switching to trucks that burn natural gas directly. Eventually, even diesel trucks could be using fuel made from natural gas. One example: the South African company Sasol, which plans to build a $14 billion plant in Louisiana partly to convert natural gas to diesel, potentially lowering fuel costs for conventional vehicles as well.
Related recent Blogs
- AAM Statement: Commerce Department Decision on South Korean OCTG Dumping. • by scapozzola • 07/11/2014
- Cleveland Rocks — And So Does This Clothing Manufacturer • by elizabethbb • 07/11/2014
- White House's manufacturing policy guru acknowledges ALL manufacturing is advanced • by TGarland • 07/10/2014
- S&ED Talks with China Serve Up a Big Ol' Nothingburger • by mmcmullan • 07/10/2014
- Postcard from Rhode Island: AAM Talks Trade at UUA Convention • by mmcmullan • 07/09/2014
- Updated: A Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China Must Include Accountability • by TGarland • 07/09/2014
- The Top 4 Things to Know About #SOSJobs • by elizabethbb • 07/09/2014
- The Full Story on June's Jobs Report • by TGarland • 07/08/2014
- To Save Our Steel Jobs, It's Now or Never • by elizabethbb • 07/07/2014
- Spreading the Word: The American Prospect Features Save Our Steel Jobs Campaign • by elizabethbb • 07/03/2014