Cars Suck! -- Research

Ending The Oil Age

Jan 27 2002

Right Of Way member Charles Komanoff today released a report describing how the United States can eliminate as much as 10% of its oil consumption virtually overnight, and called on President Bush to lead Americans in reducing oil use in the name of national security.

More than one-quarter of the world's oil consumption takes place in the U.S., at a rate of 19.3 million barrels per day. The new report, Ending the Oil Age, shows that Americans can immediately reduce consumption by 5% or even 10% by acting in concert to curb non-essential uses of oil. The savings, says Komanoff, will surpass imports from Saudi Arabia, the nation most closely linked with the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

The 5% Oil Saving Plan eliminates 989,000 barrels a day, equaling 60-65% of imports from Saudi Arabia of 1.6 - 1.7 million barrels a day. Three-fourths of these savings come from eliminating the least essential car and air travel. The remainder comes largely from a nationwide electricity conservation campaign modeled after incentives and public-service programs that reduced power use in California by 5% last year.

The 10% Oil Saving Plan extends the conservation activities to truck freight (largely through improved logistics), plastics manufacture, motorized recreation, etc., to save 1,941,000 barrels a day. This savings rate exceeds imports from Saudi Arabia and equals three-fourths of imports from the entire Persian Gulf.

"President Bush's call for Americans to keep driving and flying after Sept. 11 only digs us deeper into our present hole," declared Komanoff, the consulting economist who gained renown for his authoritative studies of the U.S. nuclear power industry. "The President must tell the truth to the American people and make clear that our outsized appetite for oil profoundly threatens our national interest," he said.

Where other energy-saving blueprints rely largely on technological innovations with long incubation periods, Ending the Oil Age taps the desire of Americans, widely articulated since Sept. 11, to act now to reduce our dependence on oil and the nation's exposure to future attacks.

"What may be difficult to undertake individually can be eminently do-able as part of a collective effort for the common good," said Komanoff, explaining the report's premise that Americans acting together can conserve large amounts of oil. "After September 11, the choice for our nation is clear: love of oil or love of country," he said. "Our new report will help Americans make the right choice."

Ending the Oil Age can be downloaded in PDF format. (If you have difficulty downloading, send email and we'll arrange to get you a copy.)

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