The House will vote tomorrow on swift legislation to roll back subsidies for big oil.
Cutting oil subsidies is a first step toward splitting from the 109th Congress’ oil-focused strategy and creating an energy agenda focused on achieving energy independence through sustainable solutions.
Americans overwhelmingly support renewable energy solutions like these. Eighty-six percent of Americans favor federal regulations requiring better fuel efficiency standards for cars, trucks, and SUVs. Eighty-eight percent of voters want the government to offer financial incentives for encouraging the use of renewable fuel. And 92 percent support minimum government standards for use of renewable energy in the private sector.
We must stop unnecessary corporate subsidies, make sure that profit-rich oil companies pay their fair share in royalties owed to American taxpayers for drilling on public lands and in federal waters, and recommit to kicking America’s oil habit.
But revoking subsidies must be part of a larger, more comprehensive strategy. The Center for American Progress’ plan for setting America on a path to a clean and renewable energy future includes:
- Developing a new generation of cars. We must use current technologies and invest in new technologies that will use alternative fuels or use gas more efficiently.
- Investing in biofuels. Establish a separate cellulosic biofuels component of the Renewable Fuel Standard of five billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels in the overall fuel supply by 2015 and provide consistent funding for production incentives.
- Getting biofuels to the pump. There are five million vehicles in America capable of running on cleaner, home-grown blends of ethanol and gasoline, but only 1,000 fueling stations that dispense this E85 fuel.
- Facilitating research. The federal budget must reflect major new investments in research, development, and deployment of new energy solutions to help reduce oil consumption and develop the next generation of alternatives.
Measures like these are already having a positive effect on Americans’ lives. Biofuels have already contributed directly and indirectly to the creation of 147,206 jobs and added $14 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product.
Broader implementation will directly impact the economic security, national security, and environmental security of Americans everywhere:
- Dependence on Persian Gulf oil would decline, improving U.S. national security.
- Trade deficits would fall as oil imports decline, reducing the roughly $300 billion the United States is expected to spend on imported oil in 2006.
- The air would be cleaner, reducing asthma and other respiratory diseases and saving American lives.
- Emissions of global warming gases would decline, reducing the threat to cities and coastal properties from rising sea level and the threat to agriculture from drought and higher temperatures.
- Hundreds of thousands of new jobs would be created in the agricultural, manufacturing, and service companies that would emerge to meet the demand for renewable energy.
- Rural communities would be revitalized as farmers and ranchers, who own the land where much of the renewable energy can be harnessed, would reap the benefits.
America’s dependence on oil puts our national security at risk, hurts our economy, and threatens our environment. By shifting our energy supply, we can enhance our security, provide our economy with a new engine for growth and prosperity, and protect our children and grandchildren against climate destabilization and its dangerous consequences. Shifting our energy priorities by rolling back subsidies for big oil is the first step.
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