E-Releases.com – 2006-04-12 09:13:18
LOS ANGELES, April 6, 2006 — America could end the need to import fossil fuels from the Persian Gulf region by 2020, according to a study developed by Professor Daniel M. Kammen and his colleagues at UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL).
Titled “Towards Energy Independence in 2025,” the study details immediate and long-term measures that, applied to the nation’s transportation sector and fleet of power plants, could reduce oil imports by more than 30 percent within twenty years. These measures could deliver daily oil use savings of more than 22 percent -— equivalent to the 6.3 million barrels a day America currently imports from the Persian Gulf.
The transportation sector accounts for over 70 percent of US oil use. The study’s recommendations include: increased fuel economy standards; the use of biofuels; a major push to make plug-in hybrid vehicles which run on gasoline, or preferably cellulosic ethanol, as back-up; and a general expansion of the use of hybrid vehicles. Professor Kammen notes that, if pursued aggressively and consistently, these currently available and near-term technologies and policies could make possible even larger oil use savings than the study projects.
The RAEL study was funded by a grant from Americans for Energy Independence, a non-profit group dedicated to raising awareness of the consequences of, and solutions to, America’s reliance on imported oil. “We spend over $240 billion a year on foreign oil,” cites the group’s president, Chris Wolfe. “Oil price and availability dictate the value of our nation’s stock markets and our retirement portfolios. Every time we fill up our cars, we transfer a greater part of our personal and national wealth to questionable governments. It’s time for a change and this study shows how to start.”
Wolfe says RAEL’s findings “highlight how we can slow and ultimately reverse the use of petroleum used in our cars, trucks and SUVs. In doing so, we can stop the tremendous outflow of dollars to unfriendly regimes, improve our own economy, reduce pollution and, as a very important side benefit, make progress at slowing Global Warming.”
Americans for Energy Independence will use the study to spearhead its efforts, making it available to the public and presenting it to all members of Congress. “We must put energy independence at the top of our national agenda,” Wolfe states. “To achieve it, we must have a plan of action, we must be willing to change our behaviors and, most importantly, we must have dedicated leadership to make it happen.”
Professor Kammen notes that his study highlights some of the many opportunities for the US to change what he calls “our fossil-fuel addiction.” Observing that energy issues have not had significant national discussion for more than 30 years, Kammen suggests, “We have been negligent in investing in energy research and development, as well as in ways to reward clean, domestic sources of power production. This study, and the vision of Americans for Energy Independence, explores how we can make the nation more environmentally sound and geopolitically secure.”
In addition to oil use savings and the resulting reduction of oil imports, the study’s recommendations could entail a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions from light duty transportation (small trucks, SUVs and similar fleet vehicles), and a related cost savings of $1.1 trillion.
“Towards Energy Independence in 2025” is available by request from Americans for Energy Independence, as well as at the group’s website, http://www.ei2025.org.
The Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory was founded in 1998 by Professor Daniel Kammen, the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy. Today, it involves some 20 students, faculty, and post-doctoral fellows from a range of physical science, engineering, and social science disciplines.
Recent projects have included work on clean energy scenarios for California and the nation, the factors needed for expansion of the global solar, biomass, and wind industries, and issues of energy and development in Africa, Latin American, and Asia. For more information on past and current RAEL projects or to download technical and non-technical material, see the lab website, http://rael.berkeley.edu/, where reports, news, video clips, and descriptions of the team’s projects are all available.
Americans for Energy Independence, Inc. is a non-profit California corporation located in Studio City, California. Its mission is to utilize the mass media to alert Americans to current and potential dangers of the country’s dependence on foreign oil to meet its national energy needs, to raise awareness of the benefits of becoming energy independent, and to propose and encourage solutions, strategies and citizen action that can lead to a future of American energy independence. For more information, access their website at http://www.ei2025.org.
Chris Wolfe: firstname.lastname@example.org
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