The United States does not have to rely on oil to drive our economy and quality of life. We can replace much of our oil with biofuels—fuels made from plant materials grown by American farmers. These fuels, especially those known as cellulosic biofuels, can be cost-competitive with gasoline and diesel, and allow us to invest our energy dollars at home. They can also slash global warming emissions, improve air quality, reduce soil erosion, and expand wildlife habitat.
Shifting to biofuels would bring tremendous benefits to America’s national security, economy, and environment. Oil is the Achilles’ heel of our economy—a disruption of supply due to an attack on a major pipeline could send prices soaring, increasing business costs and trade deficits. In addition, our dependence funnels billions of dollars to shaky and hostile regions, rather than investing in domestic factories and farms. Defense and foreign policy experts increasingly point to our oil addiction as a “national security emergency” that must be solved by advancing
petroleum alternatives, not by betting on additional oil supplies. Meanwhile, America’s oil-burning cars, trucks, and buses account for 27 percent of U.S. global warming pollution, as well as soot and smog that damage human health.