United States can reduce oil dependence by 79 billion gallons

Media Contacts
Nathan Willcox

Environment America Research & Policy Center

A comprehensive strategy to get off oil can reduce oil dependence by 79 billion gallons per year—more than all of our imports from OPEC nations, according to the new report, “Getting Off Oil: A 50 State Roadmap to Curbing Our Dependence on Petroleum,” released today by Environment America.

“It is time to declare our independence from oil,” said Daniel Gatti, Staff Attorney at Environment America. “The cost of our oil dependence has grown out of control, from the outrageous price we pay at the pump, to the pollution of the air that we breathe, to our contribution to global warming, to disasters like the Gulf spill last year and the ongoing spill in the Yellowstone River. Today’s report shows how we can bring the United States closer to the day when we will no longer fear the impact of Big Oil on our paychecks, our environment and our public health.”

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the Truman National Security Project, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group all joined Environment America in the call to action to reduce oil consumption.

This week, Senator Merkley, alongside Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Michael Bennett (D-CO),introduced the “Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act,” a prime example of the plans to reduce oil consumption that Environment America called for at both the state and federal levels.

“Our dependence on oil poses dangerous risks to our economy, our environment and our national security,” said Senator Merkley. “We need a national conversation about how to reduce our dependence on oil to make us more self-sufficient and create good paying jobs here at home. Environment America is playing an important role in this conversation and I appreciate the thoughtful analysis and policy recommendations they are putting forward.”

The policies recommended in the report include setting fuel efficiency standards that make 60-mpg cars the norm by 2025, enacting a Clean Fuels Standard that will stimulate billions in investment in electric vehicles and advanced fuel technologies, doubling access to public transportation, and enacting policies to encourage telecommuting, smart growth, and biking and walking.  

“In Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans have seen firsthand that our addiction to oil costs dollars and lives,” said David Solimini, spokesman for the Truman National Security Project. “Oil money is funding our most dangerous enemies. It’s time to stop putting oil dollars into the hands of extremists, and start investing in a clean energy economy here at home.”

“Oil is a leading source of smog, particulate matter, ozone, and toxic chemicals. It contributes to tens of thousands of deaths each year,”said Peter Wilk MD, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “By decreasing oil consumption, we can reduce the number of asthma attacks, other lung diseases, heart attacks and cancer. For the health of your heart and lungs and your children’s, insist on fuel-efficient cars, drive less, and get everybody else to do the same.”

“Consumers spend more on transportation than they do on healthcare, entertainment or food. Americans need better alternatives that use less oil,” said PhineasBaxandall, Senior Analyst with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer organization. “With the economy still struggling and into the future, we cannot continue to hand over more and more of our paychecks to ExxonMobil and Saudi Arabia.”

“A hundred years of energy and transportation policies that favor Big Oil have made our country deeply dependent on their dirty and dangerous product,” said Gatti. “Breaking their grip over our country is going to take time and the sustained commitment of policymakers and advocates, which is why we need to start now.  

“Across the political spectrum, Americans understand the importance of getting off oil. Working together, we can put this country on the path to independence from oil and create a country that is cleaner, stronger, and healthier than ever before,” concluded Gatti.