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What's at Stake
We can reduce our oil use. Scientists, engineers, and analysts have constructed a plan—Half the Oil—to cut US oil use. Through smart policies and practices—including increased fuel efficiency, better biofuels, and advanced electric cars—we can realize the benefits of using less oil.
Progress is already being made. Fuel economy standards have made cars and trucks more efficient. Electric vehicles are becoming more widespread. And scientists are finding new ways to make our fuels cleaner—but more can be done.
Using less oil offers huge benefits. Cleaner transportation options will help create jobs, save money, and reduce global warming pollution.
Drilling for more oil isn’t the answer. Oil is as expensive and dangerous as ever before, and it’s the largest single source of US carbon emissions. We can do better.
Kendall Science Fellow
Senior Scientist and Fuels Lead, Clean Vehicles Program
Director, Clean Vehicles Program
Senior Engineer, Clean Vehicles Program
Senior Vehicles Analyst
Research and Deputy Director, Clean Vehicles Program
Why Clean Cars?
America consumes more than 19 million barrels of oil every day. We burn most of it for transportation.
This prodigious oil use comes with significant costs to our climate, our health, and our pocketbooks—but clean vehicles can help.
Oil drives global warming
Our cars, trucks, airplanes, and ships account for nearly 30 percent of US carbon dioxide emissions and more than 5 percent of the world’s total global warming pollution.
This pollution directly contributes to sea level rise, more frequent and intense heat waves, and other costly impacts.
Learn more about cars and global warming >
It’s not just CO2: oil creates air pollution
Transportation is one of the United State’s largest sources of air pollution. In 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air.
All this pollution has serious implications for public health, including increased incidences of respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis.
Learn more about air pollution and public health >
Oil is expensive
A typical American driver spends almost as much on gas as they do on purchasing their vehicle. Collectively, we spend around 2 billion dollars on oil and petroleum products per day.
Drilling more isn’t the answer, either: so-called “new oil” is just as dirty, dangerous, and expensive as ever before. The real solution is to use less oil.
With the right policies, practices, and investments, we can make the United States a transportation leader—and cut projected US oil use in half.
Increase fuel efficiency
Improving the fuel economy of our nation’s vehicles offers the single greatest opportunity for reducing oil consumption—and federal policy provides the most powerful tool for accomplishing it.
Learn more about improving US fuel economy >
Use better fuels
Fuels are changing. Oil is getting dirtier as more and more unconventional oil sources are exploited, while other energy sources—including electricity and sustainable biofuels—offer huge potential as clean fuels alternatives.
Learn more about clean fuels >
Drive advanced vehicles
Hybrid, electric, and fuel-cell technologies are increasingly common and affordable, and offer long-term solutions for US oil consumption.
Learn more about electric vehicles >
We can Half the Oil
Learn more about how Half the Oil works >
From the Southeast to the Northeast to the Pacific Northwest, states across the country are promoting clean vehicle solutions. In California, forward-thinking electric vehicle policies, pollution standards, and clean fuel mandates have paved the way for both the federal government and other states. Still, more can be done, especially with freight.
Read more about vehicles in California and western states >