Crude oil is easy to handle, transport and store, but it emits high levels of carbon gas into the atmosphere that presents safety hazards. Those in favor of crude oil argue that it has significantly increased the economic productivity of the United States, along with allowing a critical expansion of the transportation sector. Opponents, however, argue that it poses significant environmental and health concerns.
Crude oil was first discovered in the early 1970s, when it was extracted and used to fuel cars, trucks, and other forms of transportation. Although crude oil was the primary source of energy used in the 1970s and 1980s, it declined in use and popularity during the 1990s. As technology improved, the American society looked to alternative sources of fuel, citing concerns that, as a finite resource, crude oil supplies would eventually be exhausted. Crude oil, however, remains popular as a source of energy, primarily because it is quite easy to extract and export. It's located closer to the surface than coal, making it easier and more cost-effective than coal to extract. However, critics argue that burning oil releases harmful pollutants into the air and water and creates safety hazards for those who explore and drill onshore and on offshore sites as well.