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U.S. Oil Dependence Threatens Security, Economy, Environment: New Joint Report Shows the Problems with and Solutions to U.S. Oil Addiction

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Washington, DC – On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, the Sierra Club and the American Security Project released a joint report entitled “Ending Our Dependence on Oil,” which shows how America’s addiction to oil threatens our national security, our economy and our environment.

“Memorial Day is the day when we honor the sacrifices of servicemen and women, and it is also one of the starting points of the summer, during which many Americans take to the roads for travel and vacations,” said James M. Ludes, PhD., Executive Director of the American Security Project. “There is no doubt that our nation’s addiction to foreign energy sources represents a dire security issue, and the release of this report – on this important holiday – represents an important first step toward developing solutions that can end our oil addiction and make our nation more secure.”

“Our two groups – an environmental and national security group – recognized the shared need to come together to talk about the threat of U.S. oil addiction,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.

Facts from “Ending Our Dependence on Oil:”


– The U.S. uses nearly 400 million gallons of oil every day moving people in automobiles, goods on freight truck, air travel, rail and transit.
– Cars and light trucks use nine million barrels of oil per day.
– Of all the oil used in the United States, 70% is consumed by transportation


– Of the imported petroleum Americans consume, 68 percent is supplied by countries at “high risk” or “very high risk” for instability.
– Oil dependence gives leverage and money to potential adversaries, and risking embroiling the U.S. state in endless conflicts abroad to secure  access to oil.


– Americans send over $1 billion abroad every day to pay for oil.
– The result is lost jobs and increasing dollars in the hands of foreigners who we increasingly rely upon to finance our deficits.
– The U.S. borrows money from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis, causing greater national debt and dependence on the goodwill of others to allow its economy to function.


– The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is an example of what could happen again if the U.S. increases off-shore drilling.
– Transportation is responsible for approximately one-third of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.
– We burn about 400 million gallons of gasoline every day, releasing 19 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per gallon, over 7.2 billion pounds of carbon daily.

“Every day that we fail to act, is a day that we continue to place American security, economy and climate in jeopardy,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “America can do better – we can end our oil addiction. Indeed, solutions abound already in our great nation.”


– We need to end our oil dependence as quickly as possible. The Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to save almost seven million barrels per day of oil in 2030 from transportation shows we can take action starting now and make a down payment on getting off of oil.
– We must invest in infrastructure that gives Americans safe and convenient alternatives to driving, such as public transit, high-speed rail, and walking and biking.
– It is critical that we improve the fuel economy of our cars and aggressively push for advanced technology vehicles, such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles that can eliminate the need for oil entirely.
– We can develop the next generation of advanced biofuels, made from truly sustainable feedstocks, which can displace the need for oil and reduce emissions.

“This Memorial Day, we should honor the brave men and women who fought for this country, and at the same time we should examine what we can do to mitigate the threat to American security of oil dependence,” said Ludes.

“We can go even farther, we can surpass that goal and we can send oil producers, and oil markets, a signal – America is serious about ending its addiction to oil,” said Brune. “That’s why we are calling on President Obama to create a solid plan for ending our country’s dependence on oil and to move us toward a clean energy economy.”

Click here to view the full report.

The American Security Project is a non-profit, bipartisan public policy and research organization dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of a range of national security issues, promoting debate about the appropriate use of American power, and cultivating strategic responses to 21st century challenges.

The Sierra Club is America’s oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Inspired by nature, we are 1.3 million of your friends and neighbors, working together to protect our communities and the planet.