Comparing Proposed Oil Savings Plans

Growing uneasiness about U.S. oil dependence means interest is high once again in energy legislation and petroleum legislation in particular. Upward fuel price trends of recent months, reflecting both turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, plus the gradual recovery of the global economy, have prompted calls for decisive action by policymakers. At such a time, it is important to be clear on the range of policy options available to address the problem and how effective these policies might be.

ACEEE surveyed studies and proposals to reduce oil consumption by environmental, energy efficiency, and energy policy groups; federal agencies; the National Petroleum Council and National Academy of Sciences; and the U.S. Senate. Policies these groups considered included fuel economy for cars, light trucks, and heavy duty vehicles; feebates; electric car and light truck incentives and R&D; marine shipping and aircraft systems efficiency improvements; transportation pricing strategies; building and industrial energy efficiency policies; and investment in community planning and public transportation.

Here’s what we found in our literature review:

 

Petroleum Use and Savings Estimates in 2030 (in million barrels per day)

 

Estimates of the reduced levels of petroleum use achievable in 2030 fall between two 2010 legislative proposals. On the one hand, the Lugar plan lowers consumption to 17.5 million barrels per day, while on the other hand, the Merkley plan reduces use to 13.1 million barrels per day. These levels compare to today’s consumption of 19 million barrels per day and to the Energy Information Administration’s projection of 22 million barrels per day in 2030. In their baselines, all projections reflect savings from the automotive fuel economy increases adopted last year.

The variation in projected savings in the different proposals results from which suite of policies that were selected for analysis. The bottom line is that we all know what steps will reduce U.S.oil dependence by 2030 — we just need to decide which policies we’re really prepared to take on.

For more information, and to read the literature review, click here.