Union of Concerned Scientists' Half the Oil Plan

It's going to take a concerted effort to make a big dent in the oil use in the U.S. Everyone's pretty much in agreement about that. But how big and how do we get there? The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has an idea on how to make the dent as big as half of all the oil we use. It'll take a while, but it's a target to shoot for.

Called "Half The Oil: A realistic plan to cut the United States' projected oil use in half over 20 years" (PDF), the UCS says there is a way to save a total of nearly eight million barrels per day by 2035 using efficiency strategies and another four million through innovation. In this situation, efficiency means things like doubling cars' fuel economy (saving four million barrels a day) and retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient (2 mbd). Innovation means getting serious about "the full potential of electric vehicles" (1.5 mbd) and making better biofuels (1.5 mbd). You can see a breakdown of these numbers below, even if the plan doesn't offer a lot of really specific projections for how to achieve the targets it calls for.


Oil Savings Strategies Oil Savings
(millions of barrels per day) in 2035*

Double the fuel efficiency of new cars and light trucks by 2025.

4 mbd
Double the fuel efficiency of most commercial vehicles (delivery trucks, buses, and big rigs) by 2030 1 mbd
Make planes, trains, and ships more fuel-efficient. 0.5 mbd
Retrofit buildings to use less energy, make boilers more efficient, and adopt substitutes for oil to heat our homes and manufacture goods. 2 mbd

Oil Savings Strategies Oil Savings
(millions of barrels per day) in 2035*
Unleash the full potential of electric vehicles so that more than 40 percent of new vehicles sold by 2035 run on electricity instead of oil. 1.5 mbd
Produce 40 billion gallons of better biofuels from non-food sources like perennial grasses and waste products. 1.5 mbd
Expand transportation options. 1.5 mbd