Maine is fourth most oil-dependent state in the country

Maine is dangerously addicted to oil. We’re the fourth most oil-dependent state in the nation, because we use oil both to power our cars and trucks, and to heat our homes and businesses. Our oil dependence takes a tremendous toll on our environment, polluting our air and water, fueling global warming, and so much more. 

Oil is Maine’s largest in-state source of air pollution, and the state suffers from unacceptably high levels of air pollution. Every county in Maine except Oxford County has received a grade of C or worse from the American Lung Association for high levels of smog pollution. This pollution triggers asthma attacks and other health problems, and Maine has among the highest rates of childhood asthma in the nation.

Maine’s oil dependence is also a huge drain on our economy. According to the Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security, for every $1 increase in a gallon of oil — a price increase we saw over the past year — Maine’s economy loses the equivalent of $1 billion.

The good news is that we have the technology today to take the first steps away from oil. We can improve the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses, move people and goods more efficiently, and transition to sustainable substitutes for oil.

Of course, to get there, the first step is for our state to have concrete goals to reduce our oil use, a plan to make it happen, and the support of our leaders. And in 2011, we accomplished that much.

Environment Maine passes groundbreaking law to get off oil

In June 2011, a bill to reduce Maine’s dependence on oil became law without Gov. LePage’s signature. The bill, spearheaded by Environment Maine, sets ambitious goals to cut Maine’s oil use 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2050. It also requires the state to develop a comprehensive plan to achieve the goals.

In October 2011, Environment Maine released a strategy to help us achieve those goals. The first-of-its-kind report found that Maine could reduce its oil consumption nearly 40% by 2030 through steps that include:

  • Deploying electric vehicles (78 million gallons saved in 2030)
  • Strong fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks (70 million gallons saved), and heavy-duty vehicles (45 million gallons saved)
  • Retrofitting commercial buildings (48 million gallons saved)
  • Retrofitting homes (19 million gallons saved)
  • Energy-efficient residential building codes (6 million gallons saved)

Click here to read the full report, Getting Off Oil: A Roadmap for Curbing Our Dependence on Petroleum.


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