... But More is Needed
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- Rising gas prices are hitting drivers across Rhode Island, but a new report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council with the Sierra Club demonstrates that Rhode Island is a leader in smart transportation policies that can help drivers feel less pain at the pump. The 2011 edition of “Fighting Oil Addiction: Ranking States’ Gasoline Price Vulnerability and Solutions for Change”, analyzes state and federal policies to help drivers. According to the report, Rhode Island is among those states doing the most to get off oil, coming in at 8th nationally, due in part to its adoption of strong state vehicle emissions and clean fuel standards as well as its policies that prioritize more efficient, sustainable transportation systems.
"Our oil dependence costs us more each day, whether it’s the price at the pump, the dangerous pollution in our air, or the risks we take with our waterways that result in tragedies such as last year’s BP oil spill disaster.” said Nicholas Oliver, Conservation Program Coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Rhode Island Chapter. “Rhode Island has made great strides to move beyond oil, however we need the Obama Administration to step up and increase vehicle fuel efficiency standards to 60 miles per gallon by 2025.”
"There is no immediate solution to high gas prices, but smart transportation polices can reduce gas bills for all drivers, no matter where they live,” said Deron Lovaas, NRDC’s federal transportation policy director. “Better state policies that give residents transportation options, such as transit assistance and telecommuting options, can provide relief. Federal action -- such as increasing vehicle fuel efficiency standards to 60 miles per gallon -- would reduce oil price vulnerability across the board. We know we can’t drill our way toward lower gas prices, so policies like these deliver.”
On the federal level, in addition to calling for a 60 mpg standard, the new report recommends stronger investment in public transportation and in the maintenance and repair of decaying infrastructure, as well as the establishment of a national oil-savings objective. The report further recommends that states establish policies that reduce sprawl, reduce the number of miles that citizens need to travel in vehicles to get to work or school or other daily tasks, and promote accessible public transit systems.
“Rhode Island is already at work with good policies, but with the increasing consequences of our oil dependence, it’s clear we still need to push forward and Rhode Islanders need to urge President Obama and his administration to do its part,” said Nicholas Oliver. “Adopting a standard of at least 60 mpg for our cars and trucks would be the greatest step America has ever taken to reduce our oil dependency. That’s an opportunity we just can’t afford to pass up.”
The full report is available at: http://www.nrdc.org/energy/states/contents.asp. More information about adopting a minimum 60 mpg fuel efficiency standard is available at: http://www.go60mpg.org.
The Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club is a grassroots environmental organization that represents over 2,000 Rhode Islanders and works to inspire the public to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.