National Oil Savings Plan

Scientific Solutions for America’s Oil Dependence

America’s dependence on oil puts our environment, economy, public health, and national security at risk. Whether it is the disaster in the Gulf, the hundreds of millions of dollars (or tens of billions of dollars each month) that flow overseas each day to pay for oil and other petroleum products, or the myriad health and environmental dangers of climate change, it is clear that the time has come to make a firm national commitment to breaking our oil dependence. But unless we create an oil savings plan that is based on sound science, smart policy, and good technology, we will repeat the mistakes of the past and stay reliant on oil.

That is why UCS is advocating for a plan that moves the country forward by boosting the fuel economy of our vehicles, producing clean biofuels, and investing in the next generation of advanced vehicles that no longer rely exclusively on oil. If Americans were to do nothing to improve energy efficiency, or to invest in clean alternative fuels, and nothing to change the travel choices we make every day, our dependence could rise to more than 25 million barrels of oil each day by 2030.

If we instead secure the needed commitments from decision makers, automakers, fuel producers, and consumers, together, we can cut America’s projected oil consumption by 2030 in half. This would  save tens of billions of dollars at the gas pump; provide for a safer, more diverse, and more secure American energy future; and put the United States squarely in the driver’s seat as a leader in addressing the urgent issue of climate change.

Working together as a nation we can finally start moving beyond oil. In addition to defending the hard-won victories on cleaner cars and fuel standards, UCS has developed a suite of policies that will transform our future:

Policy Description Oil Savings (2030)
million barrels a day (mbd)
Improvements in Light-Duty Fuel Economy and Expanded Vehicle Electrification Under existing authority, DOT and EPA can increase the fuel economy and reduce tailpipe emissions from light-duty vehicles. Tight standards and strong financial incentives can lead to an aggressive penetration of electric drive vehicles (plug-in hybrid, fuel cell and battery electric). By 2030, these vehicles would represent approximately 25% of all new vehicles sold. 5.8 mbd
Medium & Heavy-Duty Fuel Economy Using existing authority from EISA and the Clean Air act, EPA and DOT can increase the fuel economy of medium duty vehicles to approximately 16mpg and heavy-duty vehicles to over 10mpg in 2030. 1.0 mbd
Improve Efficiency of Other Transportation Modes Using existing authority, EPA can improve fuel economy and reduce emissions from non-road vehicles, including planes, trains, boats, and other non-highway vehicles. 0.7 mbd
Advanced Biofuels Cellulosic biofuels made from grass, wood waste and even garbage can replace as much as 20 billion gallons of gasoline by 2030. But they are currently not projected to even meet the RFS mandates in 2022 due to a lack of capital. Adopting policies to launch a move from the lab into production would help reach and even exceed the RFS targets. 1.3 mbd
Industrial and Building Efficiency Increase the energy efficiency in buildings and improve industrial processes, including an efficiency boost of boilers operating on fuel oil 50% by 2030 3.8 mbd
Smart Growth and Expanded Public Transit Options Expanded public transit options, mode-shifting for freight, smart traffic management and other smart growth strategies. 1.3 mbd
TOTAL ADDITIONAL OIL SAVINGS 13.9 mbd

The UCS oil savings plan is crucial to move our country forward. If we defend our current vehicle fuel economy standards and consumers and businesses meet oil consumption expectations, America’s oil use would simply remain at its current level. We must go further, we must decrease our oil use, and that is what the UCS oil savings plan does.

The full suite of solutions will save more oil than the United States currently imports and will cut our total use of oil and other petroleum products to levels not seen since the 1960s. This would allow the transportation sector to emerge as the spearhead of a new clean energy economy.

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