The United States must reduce its dependence on oil imports and
develop alternative fuel vehicles quickly as a matter of national
security, energy experts attending a national conference in Oklahoma
City said Monday.
Speaking at the Eighth National Clean Cities
Conference and Expo in Oklahoma City, former CIA Director James
Woolsey said the nation's dependence on oil from the Gulf states,
particularly Iraq and Saudi Arabia, has made the United States
vulnerable to price fluctuations. Woolsey said the nation should
focus on developing biomass fuels, which use such things as prairie
grass and feedstock, to create new sources of fuel for motor
Others at the conference said more must be done to
improve vehicle fuel efficiency.
"It's substantially important
that we begin to focus on some sources of energy other than oil,"
Woolsey told more than 300 people attending the conference. "It is
important, especially now, that we begin to make progress
The conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of
Energy is intended to advance the public use of cars and trucks that
use alternative fuels and the building of refueling stations to
provide the new fuel. Many of the major supporters of the conference
are automakers, energy producers, and community
Woolsey, a proponent of developing vehicles that
use biomass as fuel, said as much as 35 percent of the nation's oil
demand could be replaced with alternative fuels. More efficient
vehicles, some using biomass fuel, could theoretically get the
equivalent of 150 miles per gallon of gas, he said.
interesting thing about biomass is it is available pretty much
everywhere and pretty much in great quantity," Woolsey
Woolsey said it would take little effort to convert
existing vehicles to use biomass-based fuel.
In Oklahoma City,
the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority began
using biodiesel in all 12 of its downtown trolleys and two buses
ahead of the conference. The fuel is made from vegetable oil and has
lower emissions than regular diesel fuel.
Other energy experts
said the United States could reduce its dependence on foreign oil by
increasing the fuel efficiency of motor vehicles or through a
combination of new fuels and better vehicle efficiency.
Doniger, policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council's
Climate Center, said a national program is needed to improve mileage
on vehicles to reduce the need for oil.
Doniger called for
targeted tax credits to promote the purchase and development of
hybrid vehicles and for government efforts to roll out new
technologies and new fuels into the broader market. …