Photo credit: Judy Hill/Rocky Mountain Institute
In Washington, D.C., a surprisingly strong voice in 2007 for getting off oil will be the world's biggest buyer both of oil and of renewable energy—the Pentagon. This is not just because oiligarchs tend not to be freedom-loving democrats and sometimes foment instability and conflict.
Rather, the risk and cost of vulnerable fuel convoys, easy prey to roadside bombs, will persuade military leaders that only super-efficient platforms dragging dramatically slimmer fuel logistics tails, or none, can fight persistent, dispersed, affordable wars. This strategic shift will not just save hundreds of lives and tens of billions of dollars a year. It will also speed key technologies, like ultralight materials, that can triple the efficiency of civilian cars, trucks and planes—just as military R&D; created the internet, GPS, and the jet and chip industries. Thus the Pentagon will start to lead America, and the world, off oil so nobody need fight over it.
A vision will form of a United States that can treat countries with oil the same as countries without oil, and gives others no reason to suppose it is motivated by oil. The bet of Russia's President Vladimir Putin that he could hold fuel customers to ransom will eventually turn sour. China's 2005 adoption of energy efficiency as a top development priority will start paying off. Decisive evidence will emerge that stabilising the earth's climate is in fact not costly but profitable (because saving fuel costs less than buying it). And as we all drill for wasted oil to power our buildings, factories and vehicles, the market- and community-driven rise of energy saving—or "negabarrels"—will begin laying visible foundations for a richer, cooler, fairer and safer world."