The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

A High-Energy Thanksgiving

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving is about taking a moment to give thanks for our good fortune. A festival of gratitude with food, family and friends – maybe with a little football thrown in.  So here's a list of some of the things that we’re thankful for this holiday season, from A to Z.

Apple Pie – It’s Thanksgiving so your mind first goes to pumpkin, but we’re with the White House on this one – you can never have too much pie. And the White House apple pie recipe is a great example of how energy comes together in the food we eat. A quick visit to the grocery store shows us that the ingredients in a single apple pie could travel up to 20,000 miles before coming together for a slice of deliciousness in D.C.

Borate Salts – Whether it’s washing up sheets for the guest room or washing your hands to prep some food, borate salts are there to help, as a key ingredient for many household products. And they also help maintain fluid viscosity in hydraulic fracturing fluids to keep America’s energy flowing.  They are one of the common household chemicals that make up about 0.5 percent of typical fracking fluids.


Cranberries – Though not on the White House menu, cranberries are a Thanksgiving favorite for many families. The U.S. produces more than 750 million pounds of cranberries each year, with nearly 60 percent coming from Wisconsin. From fertilizer to irrigation, harvesting to shipping, energy makes sure that cranberries can make it from bogs to the Beltway (or your home) in time for Thanksgiving.

Deodorant – Big crowds in small places, oil and natural gas are there to help.


glassesEyeglasses – Eating is good; being able to see what you are eating is even better.  And glasses are one of many products made from oil and natural gas. From WebMD:

In the past, eyeglass lenses were made exclusively of glass. Today, most eyeglasses are made of high-tech plastics. These new lenses are lighter, do not break as easily as glass lenses, and can be treated with a filter to shield your eyes from damaging ultraviolet light.

Football – Before, after and sometimes during dinner, football offers a prime opportunity to not talk politics, and energy makes it possible.

Gasoline Prices – Greater U.S. oil production helps put downward pressure on world oil prices, and that helps out Thanksgiving travelers at the pump, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says are the lowest for a Thanksgiving in seven years.

Health – Without modern energy, our world would be harsher and less healthy – an existence far removed from what we often take for granted living in the 21st century. We know this is true because, unfortunately, more than a billion people across the planet are living that existence right now, with little or no opportunity to hope for anything better – largely because they lack access to energy. The International Energy Agency says more than 1.3 billion people around the world have no access to electricity, and 2.6 billion are without clean cooking facilities. So here is a toast for the energy we have, and for policies and initiatives that promote rather than hinder safe energy development for all.

cubesIce – “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” Glorious ice, deserving of a Nobel Prize winning opening line, filling ice buckets and ice chests (made from oil and natural gas).  Ice, filled from ice cube trays (also made from oil and natural gas), and ice made possible by refrigeration often powered by, again, oil and natural gas.

Just about half of U.S. households use natural gas as their primary heating fuel, and America’s ongoing energy revolution is helping keep heating costs low. EIA expects households heating with natural gas to spend an average of 10 percent less this winter than last winter.


macMacaroni and Cheese – Sometimes classic dishes are the perfect departure point for endless innovations, and that has certainly been the case with mac-n-cheese.  But in lieu of a hip (or healthy) dish for Thanksgiving, here is an old-fashioned stick-to-your ribs favorite, courtesy of Bess Truman. 

From on-farm operations to milk transportation to dairy manufacturing, energy puts the cheddar together.

Natural Gas – What can we say – there’s nothing like warm and comfortable for the holidays, whether you’re at grandma’s house or your own place. Which leads us to …

Ovens – “Now you're cooking with gas” is an old phrase and one that could save you money today.  Here is a story out of Michigan:


ParadesThe proper time to eat Thanksgiving dinner varies from place to place and person to person, but for the early eaters the sequence probably goes → cup of coffee (maybe from Kona, 4,794 miles from Washington D.C.) → get the turkey prepped and in your natural gas-powered oven → sit down and watch a parade.  And oil and natural gas can keep you afloat.

Quiet time – Sometimes things can get a little stressful over the holidays, so it’s nice to be able to grab a golf bag, fishing rod, motorcycle helmet, tennis racket, pair of roller skates or skis … or one of the countless other recreational products made from oil and natural gas.

Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Thanks in large part to investments and innovations by America’s oil and natural gas companies, the United States is leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy use.


spudsSweet Potatoes – Still feeling a little guilty about dropping that mac-n-cheese recipe on you above, so for the sweet potatoes let’s go a little healthier, courtesy of the Let’s Move 2015 Kids’ “State Dinner” Winners – who used energy not only to cook, but to travel to Washington D.C. for dinner with the First Lady and a visit to the White House Kitchen Garden.

And while you are probably overwhelmed with main table ideas Hannah’s Eggy Potato Scramble can set you up nicely for later dinners, and some prime parade watching. Or if you are still looking for side dishes, this Rota Sweet Potato Salad recipe comes all the way from the Northern Mariana Islands.

Transportation – Don’t live within walking/biking/driving distance of your Thanksgiving dinner?  No worries, energy will get you there.

Unbreakable dishes – Made from oil and natural gas, and coming in handy when rushing empties back to the sink or dishwasher.  Also made from oil and natural gas …

Vinyl Flooring – In case those unbreakable dishes weren’t quite empties, oil and natural gas makes easy-to-wipe-up vinyl possible, not to mention floor wax.

eXports – Voters are sick of political bickering in Washington, so here’s thanks for bipartisan support in the House and Senate for ditching America’s antiquated crude oil export ban.  Consumers are among the first to benefit from free trade, and crude oil is no exception. Lifting the 1970s-era restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports is expected to lead to further increases in domestic oil production, put downward pressure on gasoline prices, create jobs, and improve our energy security.


Yore – Yore is an Old English word, but if you lived in ‘England of yore,’ you weren’t really getting that old:


But things changed in the late 1800s, in England and around the world – and energy was there:

World Energy Use

Zzz’s – The ability of tryptophan in turkey to put you to sleep may be overstated, but we could all use a good nap after a good meal, in a warm house. And as you drift off, think of all the things you have to be thankful for.  It might be hard to see sometimes, but we do live in an amazing world at an amazing time.  So we should be thankful for all that we have, and helpful to those who have less. 

So thank you for making it so far down this list, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.