America's appetite for oil is the world's largest -- currently an average of 20.6 million barrels of oil every day. At its peak in 1988, the Trans-Alaska pipeline delivered over two million barrels of crude oil per day to the shipping terminal at Valdez. Today, the pipeline carries a daily average of less than 875,000 barrels.
In search of additional energy sources, some have called for exploration and extraction in a geologically promising area 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, in the federally protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Estimates of the oil deposits there range from 3 to 16 billion barrels -- an amount that could potentially reduce America's dependence on oil imports from 70 to 66 percent.
Do American energy needs justify drilling in wilderness areas?