Saving Gas and Reducing Traffic from the Comfort of your Home

As promised in my last entry, I will soon post some of the ways we can break our oil addiction. Before I do, however, I want to call your attention to a new paper from a coalition about one way we can save gasoline (and therefore oil) right now.

The Mobility Choice coalition just published a paper on telecommuting authored by my colleague Justin Horner (see PDF here). This is not a new concept, of course. But it is worth revisiting in the context of 21st century technology and 21st century oil prices. More and more of us are connecting with our workplaces via high-speed internet, broadband and satellite communications networks. So why not commute that way too?

The paper walks through telecommuting and who is well-suited for it; the pool of potential teleworkers is large including much of the federal workforce. Telecommuting delivers a host of benefits, including reduced fuel consumption and traffic congestion.

In fact, it saves about 10 million barrels a year, and that could easily be doubled which would also save a cool $1.9 billion annually in saved time and fuel costs. Right now only 5.24 percent of federal workers telecommute whereas 40 percent of IBM workers do so, and IBM finds it has saved them nearly $2.9 billion in reduced office space needs (and millions more on energy costs) since 1995.

The paper also includes some specific, commonsense policy changes that would help spur more telework in the U.S.

The Mobility Choice coalition, which includes a broad array of experts from the transportation, energy, and security arenas plus fiscal conservatives, backs telework as a means to reduce our oil dependence.