New initiatives are meant to reduce oil consumption
President Barack Obama made some big campaign promises about energy consumption, and this was one of them.
Specifically, he pledged to reduce oil consumption by 35 percent in 2030.
So far, it's hard to quantify exactly how many barrels of oil Obama's nascent energy efficiency initiatives, alternative fuel programs and fuel efficiency standards have offset, but it's clear he has gotten the ball rolling on this promise.
Here are just a few examples:
- G-20 leaders have agreed to Obama's plan to phase out $300 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, including tax breaks and government assistance for coal and oil. The administration contends most of those subsidies go to foreign oil producers, so sending that money overseas impedes investment in energy sources, particularly renewable fuels, at home.
- On May 26, 2009, the administration announced it was increasing the Renewable Fuel Standard, an existing mandate that requires gasoline to be blended with ethanol or diesel with biodiesel, from 9 billion gallons of blended fuel to 36 billion gallons in by 2022.
- The stimulus package was chock-full of incentives for renewable energy production, including $2.5 billion for "applied research, development, demonstration and deployment activities" that alternative energy companies will be able to tap into.
- A cap-and-trade bill would require that new buildings be 30 percent more energy efficient in 2012 and 50 percent more efficient in 2016. Those standards will increase 5 percent every three years. That means that by 2030, new buildings will be 75 percent more efficient than they are today.
- The Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are in the process of drafting new rules that would increase fuel efficiency by an average of 5 percent a year. By 2016, cars and trucks will be 40 percent more efficient than today's vehicles, according to Obama's proposal .
Does this all add up to a 35 percent reduction in oil consumption? Not yet, but Obama is taking steps to fulfill this promise. For now, we rate it In the Works.
Environmental Protection Agency, Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS2): Notice of Proposed Rulemaking , accessed Oct. 11, 2009
Public Radio International, Fossil fuel subsidies and climate change , Sept. 28, 2009