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  • Meagan Dorsch
    Director of Public Affairs
  • Jon Kuhl
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Washington, D.C.
April 26, 2012

Transportation Energy for the Future?

As oil prices continue to rise, so does the cost of transporting people and goods.

With more than 90 percent of the country’s transportation powered by oil, the economy is often victim to unpredictable swings in oil prices. Supply disruptions overseas and increased demand worldwide continue  to cause unpredictable price shocks that cost consumers and industries billions of dollars. 

After a year of studying resources, technology, alternative fuels and policy solutions from across the country, NCSL’s task force on energy supply has released a new publication, "Transportation Energy for the Future: A Guide for State Policymakers." This guide explores the many options available to state policymakers as they address issues of energy security, economic development, and move toward developing a more diverse fuel supply.

“Transportation fuels are the backbone of our national economic security,” said Washington Representative Jeff Morris (D),  co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) task force on energy supply.  “The report outlines policy pathways for states to make this backbone as strong as possible. “State policymakers across the country are looking to promote economic development and, at the same time, increase energy security.

“Transportation and infrastructure are the keys to the future success of the American economy,” said North Dakota Representative Al Carlson (R), co-chair of the NCSL task force on energy supply. “States need to have a stable supply of transportation fuels to properly fuel our economy.  This report highlights not only our needs, but a plan of action for the future.”

Meeting future transportation energy needs, as demonstrated in this report, lies not just in one source or technology, but in the combination of many technologies and resources, which are likely to include petroleum, biofuels, natural gas, diesel and electricity.

Highlights in the “Transportation Energy for the Future” report include:

  • The current and forecast trends regarding oil imports and domestic production.
  • The challenges of biofuel production, current production and future forecasts.
  • Natural gas as a growing and relatively inexpensive transportation fuel.
  • Diesel technology and energy efficiency.
  • Vehicle electrification.
  • Effective state policy options for increasing domestic fuel production and promoting fuel diversity.

Since the difference in resources and costs can vary dramatically among the states, the choice of technologies and policies may also vary. The report provides a detailed discussion of costs, benefits and challenges of  the nation’s many different transportation energy resources.

“Transportation Energy for the Future: A Guide for State Policymakers” report is available on NCSL’s website.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.