Getting Oregon off oil
Oregon’s pioneering clean car standards led the way for the most important federal policy ever enacted to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels: A nationwide 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency standard by 2025.
The cost of our oil addiction
Oregon families are paying more than ever for our addiction to oil. With rising global demand and instability in the Middle East pushing oil prices ever higher, oil dependence takes an enormous bite out of our paychecks and our economy. But the price that we pay with our money is only a fraction of the true cost of our addiction to oil.
We pay with our lungs, every time we breathe in toxic chemicals released from burning oil.
We also pay with our beaches, coasts and oceans. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster dumped 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and contaminated thousands of miles of coastline. And in 2011, an ExxonMobil pipeline spilled and dumped 42,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River, which runs through the National Park.
It doesn't have to be this way. And in 2011, Environment Oregon made encouraging inroads in our effort to break America's oil addiction.
At 54.5 mpg, a big move to get America off oil
Last summer, our staff and allies redoubled our efforts, mobilizing 10,000 people to voice their support for cleaner cars that use less oil.
The Obama administration responded with fuel efficiancy standards for cars and light trucks, finalized in August. The standards represent the largest single step the U.S. has ever taken to tackle global warming.
The standards will cut carbon pollution from vehicles in the United States by 270 million metric tons—the equivalent of the annual pollution of 40 million of today’s vehicles—and save 1.5 million barrels of oil every day.
Oregon must continue to lead
Higher fuel-efficiency standards are a crucial part of the plan to get Oregon off oil — but they are only part of the puzzle. We also need to develop cleaner fuels and build livable communities linked by fast, reliable public transit.
Imagine that instead of exporting $5 billion out of Oregon every year to the oil industry, we produced the clean energy needed to power our cars right here in Oregon with high-efficiency biofuels, wind, and solar power. With companies like Pacific Ethanol, Sequential Biofuels, Trillium, and ZeaChem, and a new, strong plug-in car infrastructure, we know this is possible.
To make it happen, we're working to get the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission to adopt a "low carbon fuel standard" that will reduce global warming pollution from transportation fuels 10% by 2020. The effect will be a shift from dirty, dangerous fuels and toward fuels grown right hear in Oregon.
With the proper infrastructure in place, Oregon households could save $10,000 every year by switching from a car-dependent lifestyle to using their feet, bikes, buses, light rail, and fast trains.
We can make this happen by building great places to live, work, and play. We need better local transit, high-speed rail, and smarter planning so your home, grocery store, job, and friends are all within a convenient distance.
That's why we're working to build support for faster passenger trains, increase funding for buses and light rail, and implement better planning that reduces global warming pollution and builds livable communities.
What you can do: Ten Tips to Get Off Oil
While we work toward lasting policy solutions, small changes can add up to a big difference in the oil we use and the pollution we emit.
Thank President Obama for the new historic clean car standards.
- Our federal global warming program director, Nathan Willcox, thanked President Obama for announcing a plan to double fuel efficiency standards nationwide to an average of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Oregon helped pave the way with our pioneering clean car standards.
- The 54.5 miles per gallon standard would result in Americans saving $101 billion at the gas pump in 2030 and cut annual oil use by 44 billion gallons by 2025.
- The new mileage standard will cut annual emissions of global warming pollution by as much as 280 million metric tons by 2030.
- Increasing our transit capacity by 10 percent annually, we can reduce transportation-related global warming emissions 40 percent by 2030.