Pew supports the adoption of federal policies that promote the development and deployment of advanced transportation technologies, including fuel efficiency, electric vehicles, and alternative fuels. Policies that spur investment in these sectors can lower dependence on foreign oil and make the United States stronger and more prosperous while decreasing pollution.
Reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil has been cited by eight consecutive presidents as being critical to American economic and national security. Since the 1970s, oil price shocks have cost the U.S. economy more than $5 trillion and resulted in significant military commitments to secure global oil transit routes. In 2011, the United States spent more than $1 billion per day on imported oil, and the average American household spent a record $4,155 on gasoline. The RAND Corporation estimates that securing the passage of oil tankers around the world costs the Department of Defense $68 billion to $83 billion per year.
Smart policies that promote cleaner, more efficient technologies are also essential to promote growing industries, strengthen national security, and reduce harmful pollution.
Proposed national fuel efficiency standards will increase the average efficiency of light-duty vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, reducing oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels of oil per day and helping drivers save up to $8,200 in fuel costs over the life of a vehicle.
Driving electric vehicles can save consumers hundreds of dollars a month in fuel costs. EVs are powered with domestically produced fuels. U.S. innovation and the manufacture of advanced vehicle technologies, including batteries, are vital to maintaining leadership in this emerging industry, which experts believe could be worth $100 billion per year by 2030.
The U.S. military is the world’s largest consumer of liquid fuels, using more than 300,000 barrels of oil per day. Oil price shocks, protection of shipping routes, and reliance on regimes that may be hostile to our interests pose threats to our national security. Advanced biofuels (made from plants that are not used for food or animal feed) offer an opportunity to increase use of domestically produced fuels, position U.S. companies and farmers to be global leaders in this growing industry, and reduce the Department of Defense’s fuel expenses.