Energy scientist Amory Lovins argues that the 1973 oil embargo was a watershed moment for energy efficiency in the United States. In the past 40 years, however, cheap energy has made U.S. energy policy a bit soporific. A comprehensive energy efficiency policy could have a significant effect:
$5 trillion saved, 158% economic expansion, and be led by business for profit.
The question is: are we ready to take action?
Lovins, of the Rocky Mountain Institute identifies transportation fuel efficiency, building energy efficiency, and expanded domestic oil and gas production as three key steps. The argument is compelling. Advanced materials in cars and trucks can make them lighter and more fuel efficiency without sacrificing safety. Using our own oil and gas instead of imports would drop the price, freeing money for research and development of alternative energy sources. And taking basic steps to make buildings more energy efficient “offers $1.4 trillion net savings with a juicy 33 percent internal rate of return.” If that sounds good to you, we have even better news.