WASHINGTON- In his State of the Union address tonight President Obama will call for more “investments” in green energy to help the economy, according to White House sources.
Green energy might create some jobs-the Labor Department counted 3.1 million green jobs in the U.S. economy last year-but it makes energy more expensive, raising utility costs for consumers. Instead, for economic growth, the president should focus on oil and natural gas.
To show the effects of oil and gas development on the economy, look no further than new data on the U.S. trade deficit, released on Friday. The Commerce Department showed the trade balance shrinking from $49 billion in November to $38 billion in December, the smallest in three years, mostly due to increases in petroleum exports and declines in imports.
This will likely turn fourth quarter GDP growth into positive territory, a reversal from the Commerce Department’s announcement on January 30, when it was estimated that GDP growth shrank by one-tenth of one percent.
Due to new hydrofracturing (known as “fracking”) technology, the oil industry set new records in December. Petroleum exports rose 9 percent from November to $12 billion, the highest on record, and imports declined 11 percent to $30 billion. Companies such as Shell, Valero, and Nobel Energy are expanding their plants or building new ones due to lower natural gas prices.