In the transportation sector, fuel economy policies must be used to reduce the growth in fuel use; but the demand for travel must also be addressed. The Committee’s jurisdiction allows it to pursue directly such important policies as:
- • Setting prerequisites for federal funding assistance for new transit lines to ensure that zoning in host municipalities will promote compact development;
- • Requiring state and metropolitan transportation plans and programs demonstrate reductions in mobile source greenhouse gas emissions;
- • Shifting the formulas for allocating federal transportation dollars to states to reflect the importance of reducing oil consumption and vehicle GHG emissions.
3. Stronger building efficiency policies. Buildings are the largest collective driver of carbon emissions, accounting for some 40% of total U.S. emissions. They also contain the largest portion of the nation’s energy-using infrastructure: some 80 million buildings, most of which are more than 30 years old. There is vast potential for “mining” the efficiency potential of the American building stock. This can be accomplished by:
A significant part of America’s energy efficiency infrastructure is its research and development institutions. The last 30 years have witnessed a disturbing decline in U.S. energy research and development; federal investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy is only about 1/3 of 1970s levels, and private R&D has also fallen during that time period. As a result, there has been a serious erosion in the capabilities of our national laboratories, our universities, and our state governments to rise to the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century. We urge the Committee to consult with the Science and Energy committees in finding ways to rebuild America’s energy efficiency infrastructure, beginning with federal R&D program authorization and appropriations.
Energy and Carbon Savings
ACEEE research shows that new energy efficiency policy initiatives could make a big difference on the energy security and global warming fronts. For example:
- • A 2006 ACEEE study finds that we can reduce U.S. oil use by more than 5 million barrels per day by 2020, equivalent to 680 million metric tons of carbon dioxide—nearly 10% of the federal Annual Energy Outlook reference case emissions. Improvements in passenger vehicle fuel economy account for more than 3 million barrels per day of savings, but more than 2 million barrels per day of savings are available in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, and in heavy vehicles and airplanes. Not reflected in this estimate are substantial additional savings that could be achieved through reduction in vehicle miles traveled.
- • Another 2006 ACEEE study found that doubled efficiency investments in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap and trade system for power-sector carbon dioxide emissions would add $13 billion to the regional economy in 2021. This increased energy efficiency investment would reduce average energy bills by up to 12%.
- • ACEEE’s analysis of Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) in the electricity and natural gas utilities sectors shows that an EERS target reaching 10% of electricity sales in 2020 would save utility customers a net $29 billion while reducing 2020 carbon dioxide emissions by 343 million metric tons, about 5% of the Annual Energy Outlook reference forecast.