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.

 

Campaign Updates

News Release | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Rhode Island charging ahead toward electric cars & trucks

Governor Chafee released an action plan with a team of other governors to help put more than 3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road within a dozen years.

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News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Whitehouse, Reed, Cicilline join community members to share vision for Rhode Island's environment

Dozens of community members and concerned citizens joined members of Rhode Island's congressional delegation––Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed along with Congressman David Cicilline––for a coffee hour hosted by Environment Rhode Island at the First Unitarian Church in Providence. The delegation and community members discussed opportunities to move forward to protect Rhode Island's environment at a time when Congress continues to face gridlock.

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News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Opportunity for takeoff in Rhode Island solar

With concern growing about Rhode Island's energy dependence on out-of-state fossil fuels––and the associated environmental and public health consequences of dirty air and global warming pollution––the Senate Committee on Environment & Agriculture held a hearing on a bill that would extend and expand Rhode Island's cornerstone renewable energy program.

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News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Rhode Island Solar Jobs Grew 62% in 2013

An estimated 340 people in Rhode Island were employed manufacturing and installing pollution-free solar energy in 2013, according to a national Solar Jobs Census released by The Solar Foundation. This is a 62% increase from 210 jobs one year earlier. However, with even more growth in other states, Rhode Island’s national rank in per capita solar jobs dropped from #21 to #26 since last year’s report.

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News Release | Environment Rhode Island

Rhode Island Takes Action to Reduce Climate-Altering Carbon Pollution

On January 13th, Rhode Island announced improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a pioneering effort to clean up climate-altering carbon pollution from power plants. The changes to the program will reduce power plant pollution in the region by 15 percent with the decade.

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