U.S. Must Kick The Habit -- Conservation Measures More Effective Than Seeking New Oil

Editor, The Times:

As citizens and energy professionals, we are deeply concerned that our country may go to war in the Middle East, allegedly over petroleum supplies. Our dependence on oil makes us increasingly inclined to use military force to protect vulnerable foreign supplies.

Energy conservation, efficiency improvements and the use of alternative and renewable fuels could substantially reduce this dangerous and costly dependence.

The current crisis shows again how chronic dependence on oil jeopardizes our national security, weakens our economy and destroys our environment. Military solutions are costly in lives and dollars and still leave us vulnerable to the next destabilization.

Proposed supply solutions, such as offshore and Alaskan oil drilling or increased use of nuclear power and coal, cannot meet either our short or long-term needs, are expensive, and are environmentally unacceptable.

In contrast, energy efficiency, alternative fuels and renewable energy sources improve our national security, our environment and our economy. We have proved methods for saving oil at less cost than obtaining new supplies. For example:

-- Increasing efficiency standards to 40 miles per gallon for autos and 30 miles per gallon for light trucks will save far more oil than we import from Iraq and Kuwait.

-- A reduction of three miles per day per vehicle will save the same amount immediately.

-- An investment in an energy-efficient window factory will save as much energy as would be produced by an offshore drilling platform costing 100 times as much.

There are many more ways to meet our energy needs through efficiency and alternatives. We call on our leadership to invest in energy efficiency, not in war.

- Roger Lippman, Seattle, and 169 signatures