Blunting the Oil Weapon
Let us be clear: We will always need oil. What we must do is reduce the strategic importance of oil to the global economy. We must shift oil from being a strategic commodity-one whose disruption can hold our economy hostage-to a commodity that is interchangeable with other energy resources.
Because two-thirds of the oil we use is consumed in the transportation sector (mostly in cars and trucks), long term security and economic prosperity require diversifying our energy sources in that sector. This can be done via a technological shift to an economy based on nonpetroleum, next generation fuels and vehicles designed to use them.
It is worth noting that diversification away from imported oil to domestic energy sources has already been accomplished in another sector of the economy-the generation of electricity. In the 1970s, nearly a third of U.S. electricity was produced by burning oil. Today, this figure is down to just 2 percent.
A number of public policy institutes, trade unions, and other organizations have joined forces under the banner of the Set America Free Coalition to advance a blueprint for effecting a similar change in the U.S. transportation sector. (The Coalition's blueprint can be viewed in full at Appendix III.) This plan offers ways in which the nation's oil imports can be cut in half within two decades through the widespread use in our cars and other vehicles of a variety of currently available technologies.
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