A comprehensive strategy to get off oil can reduce oil dependence in Pennsylvania by 1.8 billion gallons, four times more oil than we could get by expanding offshore drilling throughout the entire Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, according to a new report released today by PennEnvironment.
“It is time to declare our independence from oil,” said Megan Fitzpatrick, Federal Field Associate at PennEnvironment. “The cost of our oil dependence has grown out of control, from the outrageous price we pay at the pump, to the pollution of the air that we breathe, to catastrophic accidents like the Gulf Oil Spill and our contribution to global warming. Today’s report shows how we can get Pennsylvania closer to the day when we will no longer fear the impact of oil on our paychecks, our environment, and public health.”
The policies recommended in the report include setting fuel efficiency standards that make 60-mpg cars the norm by 2025, doubling access to public transportation, and enacting policies to encourage telecommuting, smart growth, and biking and walking.
“A hundred years of energy and transportation policies that favor oil companies have made our country deeply dependent on their dirty and dangerous product,” said Fitzpatrick. “Breaking their grip over our country is going to take time and the sustained commitment of policymakers and advocates, which is why we need to start now.
Leading public health experts, national security advocates, and elected officials echoed PennEnvironment’s call to action to reduce oil consumption.
“America’s dependence on oil from hostile nations funnels money to some of our most dangerous enemies,” warned MSgt. Tim Diehl, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant and Operation Free member. He has served in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Every day we send a billion dollars overseas for oil, much of which ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations and nations which don’t share America’s values. And all that money represents jobs that we could be creating here at home. Clean energy makes America stronger at home and around the world,” continued Diehl.
Representative Gregory Vitali congratulated PennEnvironment on the release, “this report brings needed attention to a very important issue. Pennsylvania has a huge transportation sector and this report identifies many ways our state can help reduce our nation’s dependency on oil.”
"The biggest single step we can take to end our addiction to oil is to set strong fuel efficiency and pollution standards that are not filled with loopholes that let the auto industry off the hook and undermine the oil savings and pollution reductions we need," said Jeff Schmidt, Director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter. "President Obama and his administration should ensure we get a strong standard that has integrity," he continued.
PennEnvironment called on leaders at both the state and federal level to enact comprehensive plans to reduce oil consumption. This week, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) joined Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) in introducing the “Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act.” This legislation embodies many of the strategies we outline in our report, including an ambitious effort to increase federal investment in electric vehicles, better transportation and land use planning, and a major investment in public transportation.
“Across the political spectrum, Pennsylvanians understand the importance of getting Pennsylvania off oil. Working together, we can put this country on the path to independence from oil and create a country that is cleaner, stronger, and healthier than ever before.”