Washington, D.C. – The devastating BP oil disaster has clearly increased the urgency to dramatically reduce America’s oil consumption; and cutting our consumption would save consumers money, reduce foreign oil imports, help our economy, increase national security, and reduce global warming pollution.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated that oil use reduction (or "oil savings") provisions would be a central element of the clean energy legislation he plans to bring to the Senate floor in mid July. And a number of other senators have introduced legislation that would reduce oil use. By selecting the best provisions from these bills it’s possible to craft a program that would reduce oil use by one-third or more by 2030.
There are three primary ways to reduce oil use: make cars much more fuel efficient, launch cleaner alternative fuels such as electricity for cars and natural gas for trucks, and invest in public transportation. CAP evaluated the major oil savings proposals in senators’ bills that address all three of these needs and chose the provisions with the most oil savings in each category. These provisions could form the basis for an oil savings section of a comprehensive clean energy and global warming bill.
Proposed oil savings provisions that will make a difference, and the author:
- Establish an oil savings goal; Senator Merkley D-OR
- Improve fuel economy for cars and light trucks; Senator Merkley
- Begin fuel economy standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks; Senator Merkley
- Establish a "fee bate" program to encourage the purchase of fuel-efficient cars; Senator Bingaman (D-NM) and Senator Lugar (R-IN)
- Charge up the electric car industry; Senators Dorgan (D-ND), Alexander (R-TN), and Merkley
- Fill up more trucks and buses with natural gas; Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Reid (D-NV) and Hatch (R-UT)
- Implement fuel-efficiency measures for off-road vehicles and other transportation; Representatives Waxman (D-CA) and Markey (D-MA)
- Invest in more efficient transportation infrastructure; Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (D-CT)
- Boost renewable fuel use; Senator Lugar
To read more about each of these provisions, and how to pay for these reduction programs, click here.
Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and Susan Lyon is a Special Assistant for Energy Policy at American Progress.