U.S. Could Eliminate Oil Use In 50 Years
By 2015, the United States can save more oil than it gets from the Persian Gulf; by 2025, use less oil than in 1970; by 2040, import no oil; and by 2050, use no oil at all, according to a new study by the Rocky Mountain Institute.
“Unlike previous proposals to force oil savings through government policy, our proposed transition beyond oil is led by business for profit,” said Rocky Mountain Institute CEO Amory Lovins.
“Our recommendations are market-based, innovation-driven without mandates, and designed to support, not distort, business logic,” Lovins said. “They’re self-financing and would cause the federal deficit to go down, not up.”
The plan, “Winning the Oil Endgame: Innovation for Profits, Jobs, and Security,” shows how at an average cost of $12 per barrel, in 2000 dollars, the United States can save half its oil usage through efficiency, then substitute competitive biofuels and saved natural gas for the rest.
This can be accomplished without taxation or new federal regulation, the study shows.
“Because saving and substituting oil costs less than buying it, our study finds a net savings of $70 billion a year,” Lovins said. “That acts like a giant tax cut for the nation. It simply makes sense and makes money for all.”
The RMI study focuses on cars and light trucks (SUVs, pickups, and vans). These vehicles account for nearly half of projected 2025 oil use. The report demonstrates that ultralight, ultrastrong materials like carbon-fiber can halve vehicles’ weight, increase safety, and boost efficiency to about 85 mpg for a midsize car or 66 mpg for a midsize SUV.
“BMW has confirmed that carbon-fiber autobodies weigh only half as much as steel and have exceptional crash performance,” said Lovins. “The resulting fuel savings can be like buying gasoline for 56 cents a gallon.”
This peer-reviewed Rocky Mountain Institute study is based on its five coauthors’ 70 years of combined energy experience, mainly in the private sector, and on extensive industry input. The Pentagon and diverse foundations and private donors funded the research.
The report predicts that to fight better and save money, the Pentagon – the world’s largest oil buyer – will accelerate the market emergence of superefficient land, sea, and air platforms.
“A fuel-efficient military could save tens of billions of dollars a year,” said Lovins, who served on a Pentagon task force studying this issue.
“As our nation stops needing oil, think of the possibilities of being able to treat oil-rich countries the same as nations that don’t own a drop. Imagine too our moral clarity if other countries no longer assume everything the United States does is about oil.”
The report is introduced in forewords by former Secretary of State, Treasury, and Labor George P. Shultz, an ex-Marine who also chaired the Bechtel Corporation, and by oil geologist and former Shell Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.