Get Off Oil
Our dependence on oil puts our environment, economy, health and security at risk. Luckily, Rhode Island is getting serious about breaking our reliance on this dirty, expensive fuel. Thanks to your support, the ball is rolling—in its last session, the General Assembly passed legislation to put Rhode Island on track to cut its oil use in half by 2050. But the commission to create the plan to get us there has yet to be convened.
The cost of our oil addiction
Our reliance on petroleum chokes Rhode Island's economy by putting money in the hands of multinational corporations and totalitarian regimes while costing families increasing amounts at the pump. With ever-rising costs, our oil consumption transferred more than $2 billion out of our state last year—eating up paychecks, undermining our economic recovery, and costing our state jobs.
And the prices that we pay at the pump and on our heating bills are only a fraction of the true costs of our addiction to oil. Petroleum combustion remains a major source of smog, which is linked to respiratory problems such as asthma. And our oil consumption produces more global warming pollution than any other energy source—a threat that is especially profound in Rhode Island, with our miles of coastline and high vulnerability to flooding.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
At 54.5 mpg, a big move to get America off oil
Over the last year, our national federation and allies have been hard at work mobilizing tens of thousands of Americans to voice their support for cleaner cars that use less oil.
The Obama administration responded with fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, finalized last year. The standards represent the largest single step the U.S. has ever taken to tackle global warming.
The standards will cut carbon pollution from vehicles in the United States by 270 million metric tons—the equivalent of the annual pollution of 40 million of today’s vehicles—and save 1.5 million barrels of oil every day.
In Rhode Island, 50 percent less oil by 2050 can be a reality
Rhode Island can drastically cut its oil use by enacting policies now that will:
- Improve the energy efficiency of our vehicles and homes to get the most out of every drop of oil we consume.
- Shift us to cleaner, locally produced alternative fuels, and expand the use of electric vehicles.
- Design our communities so that people have more transportation choices, such as improved public transit and biking.
Moving away from petroleum will protect the environment, save families money, and create local green jobs. We took a huge step here in Rhode Island by passing legislation calling for an oil reduction plan that will reduce our state's oil consumption 30 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050.
However, the commission to create this plan has yet to be convened. With entrenched special interests like oil companies keen to keep us hooked on oil, we need to make sure Rhode Island leaders are prioritizing this plan that will clean air, reduce global warming pollution, and advance clean, local sources of energy.
- In 2008, U.S. oil consumption was responsible for 42 percent of the nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading global warming pollutant.
- Drilling for oil threatens our beaches and oceans with catastrophic accidents on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
- In the past year alone, our oil consumption has transferred over $2 billion out of Rhode Island to oil companies and oil-producing nations — that's an average of $5000 per household.
- By taking advantage of efficiency-improving technology and transitioning to clean, locally produced energy sources, we can spur our economy with green jobs while saving families money.