Oil Companies and Sierra Club Agree: Time for Conservation

On Meet the Press yesterday, three oil company executives came to talk about the high prices, oil exploration and development, and, believe it or not, the need for conservation.

Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell aren’t in complete agreement on all issues, and may have been talking about conservation partly in hopes that people will listen to their plea for development off the coasts of California and Florida.

Nonetheless, here’s what James Mulva, CEO of ConocoPhillips, actually said:

And it’s not only that we need to add to supply, but we need to reduce demand. In the United States alone we have about 2 percent of world oil reserves, 5 percent of the population, and yet we use about 25 percent of the world’s consumption of oil.

Shocking, isn’t it? He almost sounds like an environmentalist. Mulva went on to add:

Thirty years ago we effectively over a five-year period of time reduced demand for oil for transportation fuels by two to three million barrels a day. It seems to me there’s been enough finger-pointing for a long period of time that we need to improve the efficiency of transportation fuels. And this goes a long way.

MR. RUSSERT: You mean miles per gallon?

MR. MULVA: Miles per gallon.

As Ron Brownstein pointed out in the LATimes, Mulva was talking about measures Congress passed in l975 that mandated automakers to increase the average fuel economy of their vehicles, reaching 27.5 mpg in l985.

Maybe we should think about such an idea today, in an era of high gas prices, increased reliance on foreign oil, and the threat of global warming?

But even though the President admits that we are "addicted to oil," actually taking the most obvious practical step to deal with the problem is completely beyond him, his party, or Congress.

Here’s Dan Becker of the Sierra Club, shaking his head in disbelief in the LATimes:

It’s like a tobacco executive calling for reduced smoking. The shame is that the head of Conoco is far ahead of the Congress and the president.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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