60 mpg is our best Energy Policy

Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to deliver a speech to rebut efforts by Republican in Congress to roll back pollution protections and increase drilling.  According to the New York Times, he’s expected to announce a new fuel efficiency initiative with the US Postal service.

As I’ve said before, it’s clear the reducing our oil dependency, not increasing our dependency through drilling, is the only real solution to high gas prices.  No matter how vocal the drilling supporters in Congress become, they still won't be able to address America's acute vulnerability to the whims of the global oil market.

America consumes roughly one-quarter of the world's oil, yet we are home to less than 2 percent of the globe's proven oil reserves. Even if we were to drill a hole everywhere in the country that has oil and drain every drop, we'd have enough to last us just about three years.

As my colleague Deron Lovaas has pointed out, we have real world evidence that drilling doesn’t bring relief at the pump.  Canada's prices at the pump have mirrored ours for years in spite of their status as a net oil-exporter.

So much for "Drill, Baby, Drill."

Rather than debate slogans that belie the facts, we need real solutions. Safer, more reliable ways to make our cars and trucks more efficient and expand our transportation options exist right now. These technologies exist today.

Bringing these technologies to scale and expanding options could cut our oil dependency by one-third by 2030. By 2030, we could save a total of 8 times more oil than we could produce from drilling.

Fortunately, President Obama has a key opportunity to put America on the right path with the next round of the National Program pollution and fuel economy standards for cars. Tough, but achievable, standards that deliver 60 mpg by 2025 provide the greatest fuel saving, oil dependency and pollution benefits.

Strengthening pollution and fuel economy standards for cars to 60 mpg by 2025 would save nearly three times the amount of oil that could be produced with new drilling.  And it would save driver $6,000 over the vehicles lifetime.

Rolling back pollution protections and expanding drilling won’t bring gas price relief, and instead would send billions of dollars overseas and create more pollution.

Lower fuel bills, more American innovation, and a healthier environment through fuel efficiency is the key to keep our country moving forward.

About the Authors

Roland Hwang

Director, Energy & Transportation program

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