Union of Concerned Scientists

AUGUST 7, 2006
2:39 PM

CONTACT: Union of Concerned Scientists
Emily Robinson or Aaron Huertas, 202-331-5420

BP Pipeline Shutdown Highlights Nation's Oil Dependence; Even a One Mile Per Gallon Increase in Fuel Economy Would Erase Shortage

WASHINGTON - August 7 - As BP shuts down eight percent of U.S. domestic oil supply and world oil futures shoot up by about $2 a barrel, our country is again reminded of the vulnerability caused by our oil addiction. According to a Union of Concerned Scientists analysis, the U.S. will spend at least an additional $24 million on oil imports today as a result of the price spike, sending a total of $10 million to OPEC alone.

"The pipeline shutdown reminds us that we need to start kicking our oil habit," said David Friedman, research director of UCS's Clean Vehicles Program. "If all our cars and trucks on the road today got just one extra mile per gallon, we would not even need the 400,000 barrels per day BP has shut down. The U.S. would spend $50 million dollars a day less on gasoline priced at $3 a gallon. Over the course of a year, that would be $18 billion that could be spent strengthening our economy and creating jobs across the country."

While the U.S. Energy Department is preparing to tap into our strategic petroleum reserves to deal with the shutdown, the president and Congress still refuse to tap into available technology and mandate a significant increase in fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. Serious fuel economy proposals targeting increases of eight to10 mpg over the next decade have been put forth in both the House and Senate, but Congressional leaders have not allowed votes on this issue, even though it is the single biggest step that can be taken to curb our oil addiction over the next two decades.

"It's a disgrace that our fuel economy is lower today that it was two decades ago," said Friedman. "Our political leaders should say 'enough is enough' and raise fuel economy standards now."

Formed in 1969, the Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices. Web: http://www.ucsusa.org