Where Oil Goes in the US (Photos)
Photo via Green Prophet
Not all of the oil burned in the United States is used to power cars and trucks. The majority of it is, but not all -- there are myriad other uses as well, many of which fly under the radar. This may seem like obvious stuff, but it's worth reiterating -- especially considering that some of our nation's most senior legislators aren't aware of where our oil goes. So, here's a quick look at how our nation uses its oil: This graph is taken from a great post by Craig Severance on what it would take to end our oil addiction over at Climate Progress, and though it uses raw data from 2000, the breakdown is believed to be the same today:
So while freight and passenger travel make up for the broad majority of oil consumption, there are obviously some areas rife for even easier remedy than transitioning to more efficient forms of transportation -- in the area of heat, especially. Switching from antiquated heating oil to natural gas heating or better yet, solar powered water heaters, could eliminate a full 15% of our dependence on oil. And Severance notes that 1% of the US's oil consumption is attributed to electricity generation, which could clearly be eliminated. Both seem like good places to start.
And obviously, huge gains stand to be made in the transportation sector -- this is broken down at CP as well:
Obviously, there's much being done to cut oil use in all of these categories, and we're fond of highlighting such work here on TH -- electric cars, high speed rail, biofuels; this is the stuff you see gracing our pages more often than not. But Severance points out that getting our freight rail lines -- high speed or otherwise -- back in action (much of our rail was torn up after trucking companies received subsidies that trains couldn't compete with) could eliminate the need for so much truck-based freight, and cut into that area of oil dependence as well.
Needless to say, there's a lot to think about, and plenty of areas where we could sever our oil dependence without throwing a wrench into the economy.
More on Oil Dependence
US Military: Massive Oil Shortages as Soon as 2015
The US Imports 1.5 Billion Barrels of Oil a Year from "Dangerous, Hostile Nations"
Sarah Palin's Energy Plan for the US : Oil , Oil , and More Oil"