Which is better for our country in terms of oil dependence? Enacting a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) or moving forward with developing and deploying electric vehicles and electric vehicle infrastructure? According to a new report released by Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, electric cars hold greater promise for reducing emissions and lowering U.S. oil imports than a national RES.
This is just one conclusion of several made in the new study, “Energy Market Consequences of an Emerging U.S. Carbon Management Policy,” that will be released during the Baker Institute Energy Forum taking place today and tomorrow. The study folds together several academic working papers on a variety of topics, such as carbon pricing, the wind industry, global U.S. carbon and energy strategies, and renewable energy R&D.
“As the country moves forward to deliberate on energy and climate policy,” the executive summary states, “consideration must be given to what policies would best accomplish the stated goals for U.S. policy — a reduction in the need for imported oil and in greenhouse gas emissions.” The papers released at the conference seek to “clarify and debunk common myths that currently plague the U.S. energy- and climate-policy debate.”
For example, the study discovered that “the single most effective way to reduce U.S. oil demand and foreign imports would be an aggressive campaign to launch electric vehicles into the automotive fleet.” It goes on to outline that if policy were enacted that would mandate 30 percent of all vehicles must be electric by 2050, it would reduce U.S. oil use by 2.5 million barrels a day beyond the 3 million barrels-per-day savings already anticipated from the stricter fuel efficiency standards. In addition, emissions would be cut by 7 percent, 3 percent more than would would be eliminated under an RES.
In addition to the conclusions surrounding electric vehicles, the study also forecasts that natural gas will play an important role in the future of the country’s energy mix.