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Powering Down Oil?

Environment America advocates for electric cars this summer.

— Near an electric charging station in Arlington recently, Environment America, an environmental advocacy organization, urged citizens to use cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars to help the environment and cut costs for households during a press conference.

Last summer, President Obama made an agreement with 13 major automakers to boost fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025. Environment America also released a report finding that clean cars would significantly reduce oil consumption and global warming pollution across Virginia. 

“If the cars and trucks on the road today met the proposed 54.5 mpg standard, it would slash statewide oil dependence by 455 million gallons and cut our global warming pollution by 4 million metric tons this summer alone,” said John Cross an advocate for Environment America: Imagine closing three to four coal plants and saving each Virginia family $560 at the gas station for the entire summer.

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) said in a statement, “From an economic, environmental and national security perspective, we must reduce our dependency on oil. This new report from Environment America highlights the importance of moving forward with cleaner, more fuel efficient cars.”

Dennis Dineen of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington displayed his electric Chevy Volt alongside the press conference. He claims that he’s saved a lot of money by buying the car at around $40,000 list price, getting $7,500 in tax credit and then saving about $8,000 in fuel costs. “I have real world experience with this car. It saves an enormous amount of gasoline ... and electricity is much cheaper than gasoline,” Dineen said. Referencing the 1973 oil crisis, he said, “I didn’t want to stay in line for gas anymore. Well, I had to wait 38 years, but I finally got one.” 

Iinterest in EVs is rising, either due to the technology, looks, reducing pollution or foreign dependence on oil. “We are not promoting electric cars, but we are trying to remove any obstacles to their use. We see private property owners installing electric vehicle charging stations to serve residents and building tenants. Arlington values clean transportation options, which include transit, biking, walking, and fuel-efficient and electric vehicles,” John Morrill, energy manager of Arlington County wrote in an e-mail.