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 Urged to Strengthen Cap on Climate-Altering Carbon Pollution

At a Department of Environmental Management hearing, Environment Rhode Island urged state officials to strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a program designed to limit climate-altering pollution from power plants. At a public hearing on proposed amendments to the program, supporters highlighted the success of the program to date and the need for continued action.

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News Release | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Installers, leaders sound off: Let's grow R.I. solar sector

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––a roundtable organized by Environment Rhode Island sought to answer the question: How do we grow Rhode Island's solar sector?

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News Release | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Narragansett Bay haunted by stormwater, trash, global warming

On Halloween, Environment Rhode Island released Frightening Facts about Narragansett Bay, a fact sheet that compiles ten of the most "scary" realities facing Rhode Island’s most iconic waterway. The fact sheet comes on the heels of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement of its intention to move forward with a rulemaking to restore Clean Water Act protections to streams and wetlands across the country.

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Report | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

Frightening Facts about Narragansett Bay

On Halloween, Environment Rhode Island released Frightening Facts about Narragansett Bay, a fact sheet that compiles ten of the most "scary" realities facing Rhode Island’s most iconic waterway. The fact sheet comes on the heels of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement of its intention to move forward with a rulemaking to restore Clean Water Act protections to streams and wetlands across the country.

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News Release | Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center

No New Dirty Power Plants Under EPA Standard

After a summer of extreme June rainfall and record July heat in Rhode Island - and as the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy draws closer - the Obama administration proposed a major new rule to curb the carbon pollution spewing from power plants that fuels global warming. Scientists warn that without major reductions in carbon pollution, extreme weather will become even more frequent and severe.

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