At the current juncture, it makes very little sense for the U.S. Department of Energy to rush to approve greater levels of natural gas exports to simply try reducing Russia's influence. The first commercial exportation of liquified natural gas to non-free trade agreement countries isn't expected to commence in 2015. By that time, this conflict will likely be long gone.

What won't be gone, however, is our advantage when it comes to using natural gas as a cleaner source for fuel in everything from long-haul trucks, like Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE) has in mind, to petrochemical companies like Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW). This is an advantage that our country has worked hard for and could benefit us for decades to come...if we play our cards right. Tune in to the short video clip for more details. 

LNG might be the next big thing for trucking, but China is for automobiles

This segment is from Tuesday's edition of "Digging for Value," in which sector analysts Joel South and Taylor Muckerman discuss energy and materials news with host Alison Southwick. The twice-weekly show can be viewed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It can also be found on Twitter, along with our extended coverage of the energy & materials sectors @TMFEnergy.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.