WASHINGTON - September 28 - As two key House Committees hold hearings on bills that will cause more environmental damage while doing nothing to provide consumers relief from rising energy prices, U.S. PIRG has released a policy paper, “Solutions to America’s Oil Crisis: A Federal Agenda for Reducing Oil Demand and Protecting Consumers,” that outlines energy-saving
solutions that Congress and the Bush Administration should enact to protect U.S. consumers and the American economy from future price shocks.
In addition to calling on Congress and the Bush administration to immediately increase the fuel economy of America's cars and trucks to an average of 40 mpg, the report outlines the need for enacting a windfall profit tax that will recoup a portion of the industry's record profits and repealing all existing oil and gas tax breaks. With the estimated $26 billion in revenue generated in 2005 alone from repealing the tax breaks and establishing a windfall profits tax, the federal government could pursue long-term policies that will ease America’s oil dependence and save consumers money.
By investing an additional $8 billion in public transportation, the federal government
could build 200 miles of light rail--increasing the nation's light rail infrastructure by 20 percent. Similarly, $8 billion would enable nearly every person who rode mass transit in 2003 to ride for free. Other oil-saving investment proposals include doubling the tax credit available to consumers purchasing fuel efficient vehicles and increasing the funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), to help low-income households meet their home energy needs.
“America’s energy problems are not going to go away on their own and it is time that Congress and the president faced geological realities,” said U.S. PIRG Environmental Advocate Navin Nayak. “With only 3 percent of the world's known oil resources, the U.S. will never be able to drill its way out of this crisis. With short-term supplies tight and long-term oil resources dwindling, it is well beyond the time for federal action. Congress and the Bush administration should step in and help move America toward a more efficient, less oil dependent energy future while protecting consumers’ wallets, instead of oil companies’ profits.”
Copies of the white paper can be found at http://uspirg.org/uspirg.asp?id2=19434