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Cleaner Cars, Less Foreign Oil

Cleaner Cars, Less Foreign Oil

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John Podesta, Carl Pope, and Gene Karpinski lay out an agenda for cutting our oil dependence and invest in cleaner transportation.
John Podesta, Carl Pope, and Gene Karpinski lay out an agenda for cutting our oil dependence and invest in cleaner transportation.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Mar 30, 2011
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1Center for American Progress | League of Conservation Voters | Sierra Club | Cleaner Cars, Less Foreign Oil
Cleaner Cars, Less Foreign Oil
A Path to Economic Prosperity and Oil Security
John Podesta, Carl Pope, Gene Karpinski March 2011
Introduction and summary
America is suering rom anoher oil price shock less han hree years aer prices hi arecord o 
$147 per barrel in July 2008. Over he pas monhoil prices rose by over $20per barrel, or more han 25 percen. Tis price hike reecs poliical insabiliy in many oil-producing Persian Gul naions. And Wall Sree speculaors have preyed upon oilusers’ ears abou supply inerrupions o bid up he price o over $100 per barrel.As he price o oil climbs, so oo does he price or gasoline. Every $10-per-barrel increase in oil prices booss gasoline prices by 25 cens per gallon. Many Americans dono have he opion o signicanly reduce heir driving or easily buy more uel-efciennew cars, so hey spend more on gasoline and less on oher goods and services. Tisslows our naion’s sill shaky economic recovery and disrups job growh. Meanwhile,our economy ships o nearly a $1 billion per day o oher naions o purchase oreignoil. And higher prices due o insabiliy and speculaion inae he pros o big oilcompanies while Americans’ wages remain sagnan.I’s ime o ge conrol o volaile oil prices ha are huring our economy, our securiy,and he everyday budges o American amilies. Tese measures are crucial or long-erm economic growh, more jobs, and less dependence on oreign oil. Tey work ogeher o reduce impors and save money.We propose a bold “Cleaner Cars, Less Foreign Oil” plan ha has our crucial elemens.
Cut foreign oil use by 5 percent annually to slash these imports in half by 2022.
Imporing oreign oil sends$1 billion per day o oher counriesinsead o invesinghese dollars a home. Foreign oil purchases arenearly hal o our rade deci.
Invest in 21st century clean, efficient vehicles and transportation.
We need obuild 21s cenury cars ha ge 60 miles per gallon by 2025, rucks wih a 15 percenimprovemen in uel economy, and inves in elecric cars. And we need o modernize
2Center for American Progress | League of Conservation Voters | Sierra Club | Cleaner Cars, Less Foreign Oil
our ransporaion inrasrucure by providing more ransporaion choices o con-sumers. Te domesic manuacure o hese cars and rucks o he uure alongside a21s cenury ransporaion nework will dramaically cu oil use, save vehicle ownershousands o dollars, creae jobs, and resore America’s manuacuring migh.
End tax loopholes for big oil.
 End billions o dollars o ax giveawayso big oil compa-nies. Use hese unds o suppor ransporaion choices and deci reducion. Recoverone cen o every dollar o Big Oil pros o inves in advanced vehicle echnologies,such as cars wih double he uel economy, elecric cars, and naural gas poweredbuses.
Stop speculators from driving up oil prices.
Prohibi Wall Sree speculaors romdriving up oil prices by hiring more “cops on he bea” a he Commodiy Fuuresrading Commission o police oil rades. Tere is evidence haspeculaors are driv-ing up oil priceso make a quick buck, jus as here were during he record oil andgasoline prices in 2008.Presiden Barack Obama and Congress mus ac o make undamenal changes in ourenergy policies. Tese sysemic changes we recommend will enable us o nally shedhe chains o oil dependence aer 40 years o impors, high prices, sagnan growh, andpolluion. Bu we mus ac now.
Our nation’s appetite for oil
Americans have a legendary appeie or oil. For a cenury “open roads” mean ree-dom. Bu every presiden beginning wihRichard Nixonis on record explaining o heAmerican people ha his reedom is no longer ree. Te recen Middle Easern democ-racy movemen is inspiring, bu i alsosparked oil price increasesha deliver highercoss o American amilies. And buying hal o our oil rom oher naions means hainsabiliy 10,000 miles away can harm us here.Te botom line is his—impored oil coss oo much in dollars and in independence.Te Unied Saes mus ake immediae and long-range acions o lower he price o oilin he only way ha works—by reducing our use o oil hrough energy diversicaion.On March 23, oil prices reached heir highes level since Sepember 2008. Tis $20-plusper-barrel increase is nearly a 25 percen hike rom a monh ago. Economiss esimaeha a 20 percen rise in oil pricesamouns o a ax increase o $150 billion over a year,only his ax increase is imposed on our economy no o reduce our own ederal bud-ge deci bu insead o aten he reasuries o counries such as Venezuela and SaudiArabia. Tis massive drain on our economy is dragging down our recovery because iis an immediae problem or businesses and amilies. Tey require as much relie romhigh gasoline prices as we can provide.
3Center for American Progress | League of Conservation Voters | Sierra Club | Cleaner Cars, Less Foreign Oil
We need o adop measures o reduce oil use, make Big Oil pay is air share, and sopspeculaors rom driving up prices. Beore we presen in ull our recommendaions o dohis, le’s rs deail why is necessary and proper o do so.
Higher oil prices led to many rising costs
Te bills or our oil dependence add up in many ways. We send nearly abillion dollarsa day o oher counries o purchase oil, an amoun equal o anoherbig bank bailouevery seven days. Foreign oil impors also coun ornearly hal o our rade deci. Rising oil prices hreaen o hal he curren economic recovery. Analyss projec haevery $10 increase in a barrel o oil reduces our gross domesic produc by one-enh. Soar his year, we have los0.2 percen rom our projeced economic growh or 2011. AP reporsha “Mark Zandi, chie economis a Moody’s Analyics, has reduced his orecasor 2011 economic growh rom 3.9 percen o 3.5 percen, in par because o gas prices.”Now add in he miliary coss. We rely on“dangerous or unsable” naionsor one o every ve barrels o oil. Te Deense Deparmen repors ha we spend up o $100 billion a yearoprovide securiy in he Persian Gul o ensure ha his lieblood o he world’s economy ows reely hrough his roubled region—and ha gure is in peaceime.Ten here are public healh coss o burning oil in our cars, rucks, and buses. Teharmul ingrediens ha orm smog and he carbon-dioxide polluion ha comes romour ailpipes, moors, and reneries leads oashma atacks, respiraory ailmens andoher serious illnesses. Te Naional Academy o Sciences esimaes ha he addiionalexernalcos o burning oil is approximaely $60 billion annually due o premauredeahs, healh care coss, and los produciviy.Finally, here are real burdens on amilies’ budges. Teir commues o work, rips o hegrocery sore, visis o heir place o worship, and aking heir children o school are moreexpensive. Many have no real alernaives o driving o go o hese and oher places haare essenial pars o peoples’ lives. American amilies, businesses, and governmen havebeen orced o spend over$56.2 billion—$183.06 per person—more over he pas yearas gasoline prices rise.
High oil prices only slightly reduce demand
Unless we ake acion as a governmen and as a people o reduce our reliance on oreignoil, rising gas prices will coninue o haun our economy and our individual amily budges. And rising oil prices only slighly slake our hirs or oil. Gasoline consumpionis buil in o mos people’s lives. A plumber who drives 50,000 miles a year can’ jus sopdriving—i’s his livelihood. Unil recenly, he couldn’ even buy a highly uel-efcienpanel ruck—no one made one.

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