By Don Geagan
As avid bicycle riders, most of the staff here at the Beachhead are already doing their part to cut down on our use of oil and, in the process, leading us to a greener, cleaner, sustainable future.
But if we really want to live in a world where we are substantially less dependent on oil, it’s going to take some planning and creative thinking to achieve it. We’re lucky though, in that the Union of Concerned Scientists has already done a lot of creative thinking for us and have come up with the Half the Oil plan.
This plan, if fully implemented, would cut our oil consumption in half by 2035. That’s the equivalent of saving 11 million barrels of oil a day.
The plan would achieve this reduction in a number of already proven ways, primarily through improving vehicle fuel economy, retrofitting millions of homes and businesses to use less energy and develope better, cleaner and greener bio-fuels.
With more efficient engine design, stronger, but lighter materials and hybrid electric power trains most of the technologies needed to save 1 million barrels of oil a day, by 2025, already exist. Doubling the efficiency of our commercial vehicles would save another million barrels of oil a day, by 2035.
And it’s not just cars that need to be retrofitted and redesigned. Twenty five percent of our oil use currently goes to the heating of homes and other buildings, many of which, by using less oil, would not just reduce our dependence on fossil fuel, but would save consumers millions of dollars in heating costs and lessen green house gases.
Finally, the use of cellulosic biofuels may be the most promising way of all to rid us of our addiction to oil. With the use of such things as perennial grass, agricultural residues left over from harvesting and even our garbage, we could save another 1.5 million barrels a day. And unlike corn ethanol, which puts severe stress on our food supplies, cellulosic biofuels frees up corn to be better used for food production and would rid us of the need for another 1.5 million barrels of oil a day.
And again, most of this technology and know-how already exists. We just have to manifest the political will necessary to ensure that such a common-sense sustainable plan is put into practice over the coming decade.
So check out the Half the Oil plan yourself at: www.halftheoil.org and then call your local Congressperson and tell them to get with the plan.