When we hear the word “addiction”, we usually think of the ruin that can come from dependency on alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs. But we have another kind of addiction that is no less dangerous – the black liquid that comes to us from unstable parts of the world known as oil. Each of us consumes about 26 barrels a year, double the rate of our friends in Europe. New oil discoveries worldwide are far short of the increase in worldwide demand, driven in part by the rise of a middle class in places like India and China. There are many who argue very convincingly that we have actually already peaked in world oil production, and we will be pumping less and less of this energy-giving commodity each year, even in the face of increased demand.
So what can we do about it? Clearly, its time for rehab. According to U.S. News and World Report, if our cars got the same average gas mileage as European cars, we could save the full oil production of Iran – about 4 million barrels per day. So if you’re buying a car, build fuel efficiency into your purchase equation. Meanwhile, a simple tune up and new air filter can improve fuel efficiency in your current car by 6-12%, and proper tire inflation can save another 5% in gas. Better yet, combine trips, carpool, or even (gasp) walk or ride a bicycle for local errands. Small savings add up to reduced dependency.
Breaking our addiction to oil – a patriotic way to live green.