An economic analysis done for 11 northeast and mid-Atlantic states shows that a clean fuels standard (CFS) is a winning idea for the region.  It could save consumers in the region billions, bring in billions more in revenue for these states, and create up to 50,000 jobs per year – dramatically increasing the region's self-sufficiency.

The CFS would drive economic growth in the region by reinvesting billions of dollars here at home to develop clean, local alternatives to gasoline and diesel. That keeps American dollars for heading out of our pockets into the hands of big oil companies and unfriendly oil producing countries. It would also help improve the health of residents in the area by cleaning up the air we breathe.

(My colleague Luke Tonachel is also writing today about the economic analysis, which was circulated on Friday as an "early-release".)

We all know the oil industry has us over a barrel and has too many of our politicians in their pocket. Every time anyone talks about doing something serious to get us off oil and make us more self-sufficient, big oil and its mouth pieces go into high gear to keep us from finally, actually doing anything.

The Clean Fuels Standard can change that. The economic analysis shows that in the next 10 years, it could:

  • Create up to 50,000 jobs annually
  • Increase personal disposable income in the region by up to $3.2 billion
  • Grow our state economies by up to nearly $30 billion dollars
  • Reduce our region's dependence on oil by as much as 29 percent
  • Reduce harmful air pollution that causes climate change up to 9 percent

It does this by setting a standard that requires the oil companies to make their fuels 10 percent cleaner on average when it comes to carbon pollution. They can sell any fuel they want. The Clean Fuels Standard just focuses on the average. The economic analysis shows that they will probably choose to sell a lot less oil and buy a lot more advanced biofuels and electricity for electric vehicles—fuels that are produced here at home.

Predictably Big Oil is already lining up to try to scare politicians away from doing anything to protect us from the high and volatile oil prices that squeeze us all everyday at the pump. (Here's a perfect example of the oil industry's messaging.) It's a brazenly weak and fearful message all about what we as American's supposedly can't do.

Well, I say enough is enough. It's time for action.

Obama has moved to increase the efficiency of our vehicles, which is a tremendous step forward.  But the federal Renewable Fuel Standard isn't enough to give us real alternatives to oil, and Congress can't get it together to do anything serious to protect us from Big Oil. So that leaves it to the states.

The 11 states involved here, from Maine to Maryland, were all among the original 13 colonies. We broke away from one type of tyranny then and we can break away from the tyranny of oil now.

The economic analysis shows that we can protect ourselves and our economy. We have the technologies and the companies here, at home. We can invest in our entrepreneurs and keep our energy dollars at home. We can grow our economy and clean up our air. The Clean Fuels Standard is the path forward.

We wouldn't have listened to the redcoats back in 1775. We shouldn’t listen to the oil companies now.

Photo by Salvatore Vuono.