National Petroleum Council: Boost Fuel Economy Standards!

That's the most noteworthy portion of the report issued by this advisory committee, composed mostly of industry reps and established in 1946 by President Truman.

Increasing standards for vehicle efficiency is the first and best of a slew of recommendations. In fact, one way to summarize the new, nearly-500-page report from the National Petroleum Council is: It begins well and finishes okay, but what's in the middle is a recipe for more oil addiction and global warming pollution.

I'm most familiar with the first section on demand management, since I participated in the group that researched and wrote it. It advised increasing energy-efficiency standards for vehicles, buildings, appliances and for making industrial processes less wasteful too. The part about fuel economy standards is most interesting because it means that the oil industry is basically calling for saving oil, and specifically advocating for reform of a policy that's being hotly debated in Congress right now.

Unfortunately, most of the media attention has zeroed in on the wrongheaded supply-side analysis, which claims that our energy challenge can be confronted by more drilling and by making use of high-pollution substitutes for oil such as shale, tar sands, and liquid coal, which would undermine efforts to solve the climate challenge.

These environmentally destructive notions are especially jarring when one reads the final section, which discusses ways to tackle heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions. And that should have been the focus throughout the report: How to meet energy needs while steering clear of the intertwined energy security and global warming threats we face, including consideration of analyses like this new one from EPA.