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Monday, March 18, 2013

Study: 80% cut in U.S. oil consumption, carbon emissions possible by 2050

The U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory have released a new study that finds the United States has the potential to reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector by more than 80% by 2050.

The Transportation Energy Futures (TEF) study includes nine reports that identify possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future in the U.S. transportation sector, which accounts for 71% of total U.S. petroleum consumption and 33% of U.S. carbon emissions.

The TEF study finds that there is no single “silver bullet” solution for cutting transportation-related energy consumption and GHG emissions.  Achieving this goal will require an approach that combines strategies to:

  • increase fuel economy for all types of vehicles;
  • reduce transportation demand through smart growth strategies, increased use of mass transit, tele-working, tele-shopping, carpooling, and improvement of vehicle performance and freight service; and
  • expand use of low-carbon fuels, including biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen.

The global climate has already irreversibly changed, and the peril grows without aggressive action to slash carbon emissions across all sectors of the economy. The TEF study lays out part of the solution - and a challenge for our nation to shift to a sustainable path.  Will it be met?

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