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PSN on June 1, 2006 - 9:05am
Instead of looking in Alaska for a massive source of energy, look at New York City.
It doesn't look to most people like an oil geyser, but every day New York City residents consume just one-third of the gasoline used by other Americans and one-half of the residential energy use of a typical American. They drive fewer cars because of a well-developed mass transit system and their multi-unit buildings use less energy per household.
That adds up to the equivalent of between 221,000,000 to 296,000,000 barrels of oil saved per year by New York residents -- just a bit less than the 320,000,000 barrels per year that would be produced by the ANWR field in Alaska at its peak production. Just by its urban design, New York City is one of the most important energy sources in the country.
Which emphasizes why the design and development of our urban areas is far more significant for the goal of achieving energy independence in our country than the oil subsidies that typically dominate discussion in Washington, D.C. While New York City's outstanding energy efficiency is a product of its unique history, every urban and suburban area could be producing energy savings with better transit and more energy-efficient buildings, leading to BILLIONS of barrels of oil saved across the country.
And existing high-density urban areas like New York City should be treated like the natural resource that they are-- and encouraged to keep producing more energy savings for the nation. Projections are that New York City is likely to add a million people in the next decade or so-- a million people who would collectively cut projected energy use by tens of millions of barrels per year. The more federal and state governments do to support the mass transit and housing needed to absorb that growth, the better for the environment of the whole nation.
So instead of drilling for oil in pristine land, we can leave those areas preserved while finding oil right where we already live in great numbers.