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A World of Unconventional Fuels

From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report. The growth of natural gas and oil production in the United States has changed experts' predictions about energy worldwide.

Recently, delegates at a conference in Texas spoke of a world increasingly powered by what they call unconventional fuels. By this, they mean fuels that are not petroleum. The United States is increasing its natural gas production. But the biggest energy user, transportation, still depends largely on oil.

Daniel Akerson is the chairman of General Motors. He says offering home natural gas fueling stations might help. But he says that is not likely to happen until the United States supports the creation of far more fueling stations nationwide.

Cars and trucks powered by natural gas are costly. That is why John Felmy of the American Petroleum Institute says any change has to start with large commercial vehicles. He says family-sized vehicles would cost too much compared to other electric or gas-powered ones. He thinks it would be wise to suggest the export of liquefied natural gas as a way for producers to expand their business.

John Felmy says such exports would cut the United States' trade deficit and create more jobs. Yet he believes they would have only a small effect on the price most people pay. Energy officials from many countries wanted to learn how they could expand their own natural gas production at the conference in Houston. For many nations, this is a way to fight poverty. Arsenio Mabote is chairman of Mozambique's National Petroleum Institute. He says energy resources can be used to generate electricity and that brings development.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 12Apr2013)

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