By Nicoll Juanes
How They are Formed
Some of the top fossil fuels
Oil comes from crude oil, which is a mix of hydrocarbons with some oxygen, nitrogen,and sulfur impurities. Most of the oil used in the United States is in transportation.
Coal consists mostly of carbon. In the United States, coal is used to generate more then half of all the electricity produced. The United States is one of the top exporters of coal in the world.
Natural gas is the gas component of coal and oil formation. It is used in industrial and commercial heating and cooking. In a compressed form natural gas can also be used as a transportation fuel. Texas, Louisiana, Alaska, New Mexico, and Oklahoma hold more than 85 percent of U.S. Natural gas reserves.
How Does it Work
Fossil fuels are the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world, contributing 3/4 of all carbon, methane and other greenhouse gas emissions. Burning coal, petroleum and other fossil fuels at extremely high temperatures is the primary means by which electricity is produced, but also leads to heavy concentrations of pollutants in our air and water.
The Clean Air Act of 1970
The Clean Air Act of 1970 helped us make advances in protecting our environment. Oil refineries had to reduce emissions and new technologies have been developed.