America's (Amazingly) Good Energy News
NRDC’s First Annual Energy & Environment Report
For decades, America's energy news trended from bad to worse, beginning with the oil crises of the 1970s. However, NRDC recently conducted an exhaustive analysis that found a remarkable turnaround. Based on key economic, security, and environmental indicators, the state of the U.S. energy economy has never been better. And in an era of escalating Mideast turmoil and gyrating oil prices, this accumulated resilience could hardly be more timely.
Extensive new government data reviewed by NRDC shows much of the credit can be given to a huge and inexpensive energy resource that deserves far more attention: energy efficiency. In fact, over the past 40 years Americans have found so many innovative ways to save energy that we have more than doubled the economic productivity of the oil that runs our vehicles and the natural gas and electricity that runs almost everything else. Factories and businesses are producing substantially more products and value with less energy.
As a result, across the United States:
- Total energy used per dollar of goods produced is down;
- Gasoline per mile driven is down;
- And the cost of energy services (from lighting to refrigeration) is down.
Because increasing efficiency is far less costly than adding other energy resources like fossil fuels, this is saving the nation hundreds of billions of dollars annually, helping U.S. workers and companies compete worldwide, and making our country more energy-secure.
Most importantly, positive energy trends are substantially reducing our national carbon footprint, putting the United States on track to meet President Obama's target of a 17 percent emissions reduction by 2020 (relative to 2005). However, these trends must continue and accelerate to offset the most damaging effects of climate change. We should build on America's positive energy trends, and give priority to efficiency improvements that cost far less than the energy they displace.
last revised 10/8/2013
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