The United States is the world’s largest producer of petroleum, accounting for about a quarter of the world’s total production. The main-areas of petroleum lie in the central lowlands. The most important oilfields are the Gulf coastlands of Southern Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi and the mid-continent field of northern Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. There is also an important oilfield in California which ranks next to Texas and Louisiana in production.
The United State is second only to Canada in the production of natural gas. The gas is distributed through a network of pipelines to various industrial centres and cities. Natural gas is extensively used in heating buildings and as a fuel for cooking.
The country is favourably placed in respect of water-power which has been developed extensively. The rivers along the fall line, the Niagara Falls and the rivers of the Western Cordilleras have been harnessed for developing hydro-electricity in vast amounts. It ranks first in the production of hydroelectricity in the world. Besides, there are several atomic power plants which produce electricity.
Industries: The most favourable position of the country with regard to agriculture, animal produce, minerals and power has made the United States the world’s leading industrial and manufacturing country. The excellent transport system of the country has fur-ther added to the growth of industries.
The United States is also a leading country in the development of science and technology. Its industries, there-fore, always have the benefit of the latest research in various fields. Computers, automatic controls and integrated machinery have greatly helped automation in industry.
Most of the industries in the United States are concentrated in the north-east. Boston, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia are the great centres of industries. On the Pacific coast, Los Angeles is by far the most important industrial centre.
Iron and steel is the outstanding industry of the United States. The country is the leading producer of steel in the world. This industry is the key to many other industries. Most of its iron and steel is used in making locomotives, armaments, ships, railway wagons, automobiles and heavy machinery of all kinds. The Great Lakes area is the centre for heavy industries. The United States also leads the world in the production of aeroplanes. The bulk of the aluminium produced in the country is used in used in making aeroplanes.
The United States is the leading producer of motor vehicles in the world. Detroit is the main centre for automobile production and is often called the “automobile capital”.
There are several thousand parts in an automobile. They are usually manufactured in different factories. Different parts are put together or assembled in a special factory known as an assembly plant. Inside an assembly plant, there are moving carriers called conveyor belts. Different parts of a car are put on a conveyor belt, which moves from one worker to another along the assembly line. As the conveyor belt moves along, each worker adds and fits a part to the car until it turns out as a finished product at the end of the assembly line.