Another way to examine energy use is to look at the generalized energy flow of the United States by end use for a particular year. In 2008 we imported considerably more oil than we produced we import about 65% of the oil we use, and our energy consumption was fairly evenly distributed in three sectors: residential/commercial, industrial, and transportation.
It is clear that we remain dangerously vulnerable to changing world conditions affecting the production and delivery of crude oil. We need to evaluate the entire spectrum of potential energy sources to ensure that sufficient energy will be available in the future, while sustaining environmental quality. But time may be running out, and we need action now. To implement sustainable energy development, leaders in various regions of the world will need energy plans based on local and regional conditions.
The plans will integrate the desired end uses for energy with the energy sources that are most appropriate for a particular region and that hold potential for conservation and efficiency. Such plans will recognize that preserving resources can be profitable and that degradation of the environment and poor economic conditions go hand in hand. In other words, degradation of air, water, and land resources depletes assets and ultimately will lower both the standard of living and the quality of life.