As Gas Prices Hit New Highs, NRDC Maps Path to Oil Security

Report Compares Fuel Cells to Fuel Economy

WASHINGTON (March 18, 2003) -- America's thirst for oil is one of our leading economic and national security problems. We use a quarter of the world's petroleum, but have just 3 percent of known reserves. Which mean's we're importing more than half the oil we use each day from some of the most unstable regions of the world -- spending more than $20 billion each year on Persian Gulf oil alone.

Fortunately, there is a cure.

Today, as Congress considers yet another energy bill that does almost nothing for energy security, NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council) released a new edition of Dangerous Addiction: Breaking the Chain of Oil Dependence, outlining a combination of technologies and policies that would dramatically reduce our petroleum needs.

New analysis in the report compares oil savings from hydrogen fuel fells of the future with stronger fuel economy performance today. While fuel cells are an important long-term solution, oil savings from a responsible fuel economy standard phased in over the next decade are 25 times greater by 2020 than a strategy that relies on fuel cells alone.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee is scheduled to consider energy legislation on Wednesday that authorizes $1.8 billion for fuel cell research and development, but only another study of oil savings from efficiency improvements to conventional vehicles.

The new NRDC report covers other simple, cost-effective technologies that exist today to improve fuel economy in cars and light trucks of all sizes. With the right policies to foster oil-savings, we could cut projected 2020 oil use for personal vehicles in half.

But it won't happen until leaders in Washington and Detroit make it happen. Thanks to legal loopholes that discourage the use of clean, efficient technology, the average fuel economy of America's cars and trucks is actually getting worse. And it has been that way for more than a decade. Dangerous Addiction 2003 shows how to reverse this trend, and break the chains of oil addiction.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 550,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Related NRDC Pages

Dangerous Addiction: Ending America's Oil Dependence

Break the Chain -- And End Our Dependence on Oil