Domestic oil production is declining and United States reliance on imported oil is increasing. America will be faced with difficult decisions that address the strategic, economic, and political consequences of its energy resources shortage. The geologically literate under-graduate student needs to be aware of current and future United States energy issues. The U.S. Geological Survey periodically provides energy assessment data via digitally-formatted CD-ROM publications. These publications are free to the public, and are well suited for use in undergraduate geology curricula. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 1995 National Assessment of United States Oil and Gas Resources (Digital Data Series or DDS-30) (Gautier and others, 1996) is an excellent resource for introducing students to the strategies of hydrocarbon exploration and for developing skills in problem-solving and evaluating real data. This paper introduces the reader to DDS-30, summarizes the essential terminology and methodology of hydrocarbon assessment, and offers examples of exercises or questions that might be used in the introductory classroom. The USGS contact point for obtaining DDS-30 and other digital assessment volumes is also provided. Completing the sample exercises in this report requires a copy of DDS-30.