'Drive for America' Campaign Calls on Big Three Automakers to Increase Fuel Economy as Matter of National Security

Release Date: Thursday, March 27, 2003

With world oil markets increasingly in turmoil, U.S. oil imports steadily increasing, and oil and gas prices on the rise, the Alliance to Save Energy has launched the Drive for America campaign demanding that the Big Three automakers increase fuel economy as a matter of national security.

In the web campaign’s first 24 hours, more than 5,000 Americans on the home front signed on to the campaign as a way of making their own contribution to national security and sending a message to U.S. automakers.

“With cars and light trucks accounting for more than 40 percent of U.S. oil consumption, the Big Three automakers are uniquely positioned to help break our nation’s deadly oil dependence,” said Alliance President David M. Nemtzow. “For too long, our nation has been dangerously dependent on foreign oil, leaving our economy and our national security hostage to the whims of other, often hostile, nations. The Drive for America campaign allows us to declare that we will no longer tolerate being a nation of oil junkies.”

According to the campaign, the battle against energy dependence has become more than just an environmental or economic one – it has become a critical battle for national security. As evidence, the campaign website reminds Americans of these alarming statistics:

  • U.S. dependence on oil imports is currently the highest in our history – accounting for well over half of the oil we consume. Without efforts to reverse this trend, imports will reach two-thirds of U.S. oil consumption by 2025.
  • More than two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves are concentrated in the explosive Middle East.
  • Saudi Arabia holds one-fourth of the world’s proven oil reserves – the largest share – followed by Iraq, at 11 percent.
  • Current fuel economy standards save about 2.8 million barrels of oil a day, according to the National Academy of Sciences.

“America can significantly increase the gas mileage of its cars, trucks, and SUVs by employing current and emerging automotive technologies such as hybrid electric vehicles,” said Alliance Director of Policy Kara Saul Rinaldi. “This campaign tells America’s automakers that Americans want more efficient vehicles and demand a change in our gluttonous oil consumption.”

The Drive for America campaign also urged Americans to take the Patriot’s Energy Pledge to reduce their personal use of oil in various ways, such as by keeping their cars tuned, buying fuel efficient vehicles, and walking or taking public transit to work.