By Teresa Welsh |
The solution to high gas prices is to use less oil, not more. We have the technologies to cut our projected oil use in half in 20 years and save consumers billions of dollars every year.
Gas prices are high today because the United States and the world use a lot of oil, which every day is getting dirtier, more expensive, and harder to get. If we want to place blame for current high gas prices we need to look to politicians from both parties who, for more than 40 years, have highlighted the problem of oil dependence but never delivered on a sustained effort to do something about it.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has developed a plan to cut America's projected oil consumption in half by 2030 by boosting the fuel economy of all forms of transportation, producing clean biofuels, expanding public transportation, delivering the next generation of electric cars, and improving efficiency in industries and homes that rely on oil. Implementing this suite of solutions would save consumers money; provide for a safer, more diverse American energy future; and make the United States a leader in addressing global climate change.
Our plan outlines a comprehensive set of solutions and clear path forward for lowering oil consumption. What our plan does not do is go back to the belief that we can drill our way to lower prices. Despite what some will claim, drilling is no silver bullet for combatting high gas prices. When we consume nearly 25 percent of the world's petroleum, yet hold only about 2 percent of the proven reserves, drilling for more oil won't help.
The Obama administration has already taken some of the steps in our plan. The biggest was to put forward two rounds of standards that will double the fuel economy of new cars and light trucks by 2025, saving consumers billions of dollars and cutting America's oil dependence by 3.5 million barrels per day in 2030. That is more oil than we currently import from the entire Middle East. But we must do more.
If the nation is going to finally deal with high gas prices, the administration must go further by committing to cut oil dependence in half in 20 years. And future presidents, no matter the party, must sustain and expand on those efforts instead of turning gas prices into a political football.
About David Friedman Senior Engineer and Deputy Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicles Program
Daniel Simmons Director of State Affairs at the Institute for Energy Research
Douglas Holtz-Eakin President of the American Action Forum
Christopher Prandoni Federal Affairs Manager of Americans for Tax Reform
Nicolas Loris Policy Analyst in the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation