A national high speed rail system ends our oil dependency quickly & permanently
Building an electrically-powered national high speed rail network across America is the single most powerful thing we can do to get the nation into a secure, sustainable form of mobility. A national network of high speed trains can be powered by a combination of renewable energy sources including wind, solar, geothermal, and ocean/tidal energy.
America's dependency on oil is the most severe in the world, and inevitably pulls us into costly resource wars. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice alerted the nation to energy problems back in 2006 saying, “The quicker we get about the business of reducing our reliance on oil, the better we're going to be." Our national oil dependence pushes us into exploring for oil in extreme locations such as 10,000 feet deep below the Gulf of Mexico. We use 25% of the entire world's oil supply, yet we only have 5% of the world's population. We use 8-10 times more oil per person per day than Europeans, and they have faster, easier and better mobility than we do.
The extremely high daily oil consumption of Americans is not due to a higher standard of living, but because of the extremely inefficient nature of our national transportation system – based on individual vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, combined with our sprawling community designs that force people into cars for every trip.
As the world oil supply peaks and then irreversibly declines, prices will rise faster, and the situation will get far worse for America if we don't quickly reduce our national oil dependency. This dependency cuts across our entire society and affects our daily survival. Oil provides 95% of the energy to grow, process and deliver food to the nation. Our entire national transportation system is powered mostly by oil. Numerous daily products we use are made from oil. We use 20 million barrels of oil every day - just in America - 70% of it for transportation. Of the 20 million barrels we consume, we import 2/3 of this oil (13 million barrels per day) from foreign sources, many in unstable places.
No combination of drilling off our coasts, hydrogen fuel cells, natural gas, biofuels, and used french fry oil will solve this and carry 300 million Americans into the future. None of these fuels can be scaled up to anywhere near the amount of liquid fuel we use daily in any practical, economical, environmental, or sustainable way. We will need a combination of new fuel sources, greater efficiency of our existing systems, and a new national high speed rail network to transition into a prosperous futue.
"The quicker we get about the business of reducing our reliance on oil, the better we're going to be." -Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State (May, 2006)
"You can’t talk about American national security in the long run without a fundamental redevelopment of this country economically. It is not possible. And you can’t talk about a competitive American economy without a dramatically more robust and more modern infrastructure." -Newt Gingrich (2009)
"Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act" -Albert Einstein
"There is a risk that the world's largest economy and largest oil consumer, the United States, could be hit by a lack of supplies and a high price of oil with consequences for the rest of the world." -Robert Dudley, BP CEO
"Not one in a hundred of the people in our country have any inkling of the potential problem that we're facing." -Congressman Roscoe Bartlett
Incredible energy efficiency of high speed trains. (Chart source: www.uic.org)
High speed rail is the fastest, most comprehensive way to do this while increasing mobility and prosperity Story
Argentina... coming soon
The U.S. Joint Forces Command, under U.S. Marine General J.N. Mattis, issued a report earlier this year stating that oil demand could outpace supply as early as 2015. The potentially devastating consequences for our economy, transportation system and national security require an urgent and important investment in high speed trains, which can be nine times more energy-efficient than cars or planes, advocates argued. Read report
"America's energy posture matters for national security. Everyday choices like how we fuel our cars can bolster regimes hostile to American interests and values and feed the coffers of terrorist organizations fighting against us. Meanwhile, spikes in fuel cost and the volatility of supply lines bear the potential to wreak havoc on our economy. In the face of a national job crisis, another OPEC oil crisis would be catastrophic." -Truman National Security Project
"I see our [global production] capacity as reaching perhaps as much as 95 million barrels a day at the peak in about four or five years, probably around 2015. But I think production will go very modestly above that point, if at all, and, in effect, we will reach a plateau. It will be a little bumpy in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. But by 2020, the first signs will become very evident that we can't go any higher than that in production. So we will begin to settle very slowly and gradually in a world in which we need more oil each year, but we can't get more." The price "goes to $95 per barrel in 2012 and $115 in 2013. The following year, 2014, we see the price going to $140 a barrel, followed by $180 in 2015. And then, by 2020, it's at $300" -Charles T. Maxwell
Revolutions in the Middle East and Africa threaten U.S. oil supply, increasing the urgency of building a national high speed rail network to permanently reduce U.S. oil dependency
The American economy is extremely vulnerable to oil price spikes, supply disruptions, and shortages due to our huge daily oil dependency. We use 20 million barrels of oil EVERY DAY in America, 70% of which is for transportation. We import 2/3 of our oil, much of it from unstable regions half way around the world. Current events across the Middle East and North Africa make our oil supply that much more vulnerable. The chart below shows the countries that produce oil, many of which have been steadily declining in overall production numbers - producing less and less oil each year. This is due to the fact that many of the world's leading oil fields have, or are currently maxing out and in decline. This makes it increasingly difficult to meet current American oil demand, and impossible to meet future increases in demand - expected to double over the next 20 years.
Much of America was built around $10 per barrel oil - our suburbs, our highways, our aviation system, etc. were all built to operate on plentiful, cheap oil.
Those days are clearly gone, as oil has recently been above $100 per barrel several times, and predicted to reach $200 per barrel within the next 8 years - by 2020!
America was built for $10 per barrel oil
In addition to being ever more expensive, oil will be more and more difficult to obtain in the huge quantities we use daily in America. Drilling for oil off our coasts and throughout the nation's pristine wilderness areas will not solve this because together these can only produce a tiny percent of the 20 million barrels we use daily. Even with this expanded domestic drilling we would still be importing more and more oil from foreign nations each day.
The events experienced recently across the Middle East demonstrate how unstable the entire region is surrounding the world's remaining oil supplies, and how easily it can spiral out of control.
The fact that the daily operation of America is dependent on the continuous supply of oil from this region is a wake-up call to Americans.
Our oil dependency is a matter of national security.
American oil dependency makes the nation vulnerable
"High speed rail is the large-scale, comprehensive solution to the oil supply problem"
The only viable solution is to greatly reduce the amount of oil we use in our daily lives. Since transportation is 70% of the oil use, changing transportation is job #1. Building a national network of electric high speed rail lines will cut the nation's oil consumption substantially, while also delivering a new, fast mobility option.
Fully Integrated, Multi-layered National Electric Rail System Built in 4 Phases
"Dollars spent that get Americans out of cars will ease traffic, save money, reduce pollution, slow global warming, and make us less vulnerable to volatile oil oligarchs." -Bloomberg
"If we are to continue economic development and prosperity, we will need to greatly reduce our daily oil consumption, and high-speed rail is the only possible solution that can scale up to meet the growing demand of American mobility while greatly reducing our oil consumption." -USHSR President Andy Kunz onCNN - 2010
$115 Billion/yr waste
Global oil production - where 20 million barrels per day comes from to supply the U.S.
List of oil-producing countries based on CIA World Factbook data
"The April 20 explosion at a BP Plc oil facility sank a $365 million rig, shut down deep-water exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and wiped out more than $45 billion in the market value of London-based BP. The blowout, being investigated by the Justice Department and House and Senate committees, cost chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward his job and prompted threats from some lawmakers to bar BP from future offshore U.S. oil deals." -Bloomberg
"America's biggest oil spill has shown us the dark side of pushing the search for oil beyond the frontier of our experience. Going forward, we face a crucial choice that will have profound consequences for America's future. We can either reinvent our energy infrastructure to obtain extreme oil more safely or we can reposition our society to use much less of it. Both options will cost more than Americans have grown accustomed to paying for energy, but the end of cheap oil is inevitable.
A key difference between redesigning our transportation system to enable post-carbon mobility and introducing infrastructure to bring us more extreme oil--like the Gulf of Mexico's deepwater reserves--can be found in the state of technology. Moving people and freight without oil can be done with mature technology. Conversely, the technology to safely produce extreme oil on a large scale remains to be perfected, as events in the Gulf have made obvious." -Anthony Perl
Another large oil spill - this time off the coast of Brazil demonstrates the difficulty and expense of ramping up extreme ocean oil.
Continuing to find more oil to try to meet our huge demand is proving to be impossible, and disastrous as we can see today in the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East. It is not good for our economy, business, tourism, the environment, or global cooperation. The only real way to solve this is to reduce our demand for oil as part of our daily lives.
The fastest and most effective way to reduce our oil dependence is to reduce our car and airplane dependence. The most effective way to do this is by building a national high speed rail network. This would be supported by regional rail systems, light rail, trams and trolleys, bicycles and walkable communities - together forming a sustainable, secure future - free from oil.
A National HSR system is the centerpiece of an energy-secure America
Green, Electric Transportation
"America consumes 20 million barrels of oil every day - 70% of it for transportation."
America - Millions of barrels of oil used daily = vulnerability
Spain - Oil-free transportation = Energy Security
Millions of barrels of oil used daily
HSR - The Solution to the Oil Supply Crisis and Energy Security
"The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now." -President Obama, June 16, 2010
Oil problems for America
USHSR supports a visionary clean energy bill with America becoming a global sustainability leader. A major investment in a national high speed rail network - electrically powered by renewables is the centerpiece of this visionary green energy future.
American oil consumption is not sustainable - currently at 20 million barrels of oil EVERY DAY, 70% of it going directly to transportation. This amount is expected to double to 40 million barrels per day by 2030, in America alone.
Projected growth in oil consumption is not possible. There is widespread agreement among geologists and oil industry executives that the cheap, easy oil days are over - as everyone is witnessing today in the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East. Experts say by 2030 global oil supplies will have been depleted to half the oil available today, including all global sources: offshore, deep sea, wilderness, etc.
Alternative fuels don't add up. Biofuels, ethanol, natural gas, tar sands, and fuel cells all have a small role to play, but even with each of them fully scaled up, and then combined they can only produce a tiny fraction of the liquid fuel we use daily for transportation. It is physically, financially, and environmentally impossible to scale up these fuels in any sustainable or affordable way to meet the American insatiable appetite for oil on a daily basis.
Electric cars - a partial solution. While they reduce some oil demand, electric cars do nothing to solve congestion, accidents, deaths and injuries, delays and time waste, crumbling roads and bridges, encouragement of sprawl, etc.
Solution - expand transportation options to reduce daily demand for oil. Since increasing oil supply is proving to be nearly impossible, reducing demand is the only viable solution, by reducing our need for so much oil as part of daily living. Ramping up forms of transportation that consume little or no oil is the heart of the solution. Converting our national transportation network towards a system of electric trains throughout the country will take a huge bite out of our unsustainable appetite for oil, while increasing mobility, efficiency, global competitiveness, and national security. High speed rail is the large-scale, comprehensive solution to the oil supply problem, and is the most significant way to reduce our daily consumption of oil quickly and efficiently while maintaining our prosperity and economic growth.
High Speed Rail is the backbone of a clean energy future.
Most other industrialized nations already realize this, and are way ahead of us in building their high speed rail systems as a way to reduce dependence on oil, foreign or domestic.
High capacity, electric transportation
Clean, electric transportation = Energy Security
jobs | economic recovery | mobility | safety | energy security | climate solution