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SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Support Clean Fuels


clean-fuel-update-v3-01 Overview

The transportation sector, our cars and trucks, is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (electricity is #1) in the United States (U.S.). Today, transportation is the second highest expense for most Americans, behind housing. The U.S. uses 13 million barrels of oil a day (or $1 billion/day) for transportation. To reduce emissions from this sector will require the development and use of cleaner fuels and vehicles, greater fuel efficiency, as well as changes in development and our patterns of travel.

Although the Southeast is heavily dependent on the automobile, this region is also at the forefront of developing much-needed solutions such as electric vehicles and sustainable, advanced biofuels. Expansion of electric vehicles will help cut U.S. oil use, reduce greenhouse gases, lower consumer costs and build a strong, clean energy economy.

Electrics vehicles (EVs) are powered by electricity that is stored is the car’s battery. The most common EVs on the market today are the Nissan Leaf (all-electric) and the Chevrolet Volt (plug-in hybrid electric), but numerous new EVs are entering the market. Key elements to grow this market and further reduce our oil use are: reducing the weight of the vehicle (often referred to as “lightweighting”), increasing battery storage and improving aerodynamics.

Advanced biofuels from switchgrass and other crops and biodiesel can also help displace petroleum oil use in the U.S. However, the types of feedstocks that are used, the method of harvesting and the associated greenhouse gas reduction benefits vary.