America is the largest consumer of energy in the world, and the majority of this energy comes from dirty and dangerous sources like coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. Our continued reliance on these fuels contributes to global warming, undermines our energy independence, and costs American families and businesses more and more money every year.
America’s dependence on oil threatens our economy and harms our environment. Roughly half of all the oil we use in the United States goes into the gas tanks of our cars and light trucks. The oil we use in our vehicles is also a major contributor to global warming.
The Obama administration is slated to unveil new standards for automobile fuel economy and global warming emissions by the end of March. These new standards—based on the “clean cars program” developed by California and adopted by 13 other states—will make a significant contribution toward reducing America’s dependence on oil and reducing the impact of our vehicles on the environment.
America has virtually limitless potential to tap the energy of the sun. Solar energy is clean, safe, proven and available everywhere, and the price of many solar energy technologies is declining rapidly. By adopting solar energy on a broad scale, the nation can address our biggest energy challenges – our dependence on fossil fuels and the need to address global warming – while also boosting our economy.
Texas has what it takes to be a national leader in solar power. We have the most solar radiation in the country, are home to one of the world’s largest suppliers of solar-grade silicon and wafers, and are innovators in the high tech industry. From a glass company in Wichita Falls, to steel brace fabrication in Brownwood, Texas-based companies span the solar supply chain.
America’s current fleet of gasoline-powered cars and trucks leaves us dependent on oil, contributes to air pollution problems that threaten our health, and produces large amounts of global warming pollution. “Plug-in” cars are emerging as an effective way to lower global warming emissions, oil use, and smog. A plug-in car is one that can be recharged from the electric grid. Plug-in cars come in two types: plug-in hybrids that are paired with small gasoline engines, and fully electric vehicles that consume no gasoline at all.
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to getting things done.