From: Allison Winter, ENN
Published June 25, 2013 08:42 AM

Half the Oil Plan

With the consumption and price of oil on an upward trend, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has come up with a realistic plan that will help cut the United State's projected oil use in half over 20 years.

The plan hopes to dramatically reduce US oil consumption while saving consumers billions of dollars and making the United States a global leader in transportation technology.


According to the report Fueling a Better Future, "in 20 years we will have cut our country's annual oil spending by $550 billion, created more than 1 million jobs, and eliminated some 2 billion metric tons of global warming emissions per year."

The plan also states that "working towards smart-growth policies and practices can not only yield oil savings of nearly 1.5 million barrels per day in 2035 but also reduce commute times, make streets safer, clean up our air, and revitalize local economies."

The UCS predicts that by 2035, the US will be on track to consume 22 million barrels of oil every day. So what exactly needs to be done in order to cut our emissions? Here are some highlights of the plan.

1. Savings through Efficiency in Passenger Vehicles.

The UCS plan states that the average US household spends around 4% of its pretax income on fuel for transportation. As conventional and hybrid technologies continue to become more efficient, manufacturers will be able to meet higher fuel economy targets and save consumers money at the gas pumps.

2. Savings through Efficiency in Trucks (and other forms of transportation).

"The nearly 9 million medium- and heavy-duty trucks on the road today consume about 20 percent of all transportation fuel used each year but can cut this consumption by utilizing current available aftermarket technologies." By doubling fuel efficiency of commercial vehicles and by making planes, trains, and ships more fuel efficient, the country can save nearly 5.5 million barrels per day.

3. Savings through Electric Vehicles.

By expanding the electric vehicle market will redirect our need for oil. While it will take some time for the market to develop further and for the economy to stimulate investment in charging infrastructure, environmental policies could accelerate the market so that by 2035, 30-40% of new vehicles sold could run on electricity or hydrogen.

4. Creating Smarter Communities and Smarter Choices

Retrofitting buildings to use less energy while making heating and air-conditioning equipment more efficient will help save another 2 million barrels of oil per day. In addition, smart-growth principles like concentrating dense mixed-use development around public transit systems can help revitalize local economies.

To find out more about the Half the Oil Plan, see the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Chart image via Fueling a Better Future.

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