Entrepreneur Jigar Shah: ‘We need fuel choice’

Clean-energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah makes a case for investing in technology that will help the United States end its dependence on foreign oil, instead of just talking about it.

In a post for, he laments the lost opportunities: The U.S. has reduced its oil imports by 15 percent over the last two years as the country has ramped up its own oil production. But we “still imported an average 7.4 million barrels of crude oil per day during the first nine months of 2014—at a cost of more than $240 billion.”

Increasing fuel-economy standards in vehicles has gotten us only partway toward oil independence (he notes that as miles-per-gallon have vastly increased since the 1970s, so too has the weight of the cars Americans increasingly prefer: the large SUVs). He adds:

The predicted increase in oil drilling in the U.S. and Canada will get us even closer. But no matter how we slice the data, we will still depend on imported oil. Domestic drilling and fuel standards are not enough—we need fuel choice.

Shah writes that replacement fuels like methanol, hydrogen, electricity and other renewables are cheaper than gasoline or diesel.

However, the Government has not systematically put a plan in place to give American’s access to these fuels at local refueling stations. In fact, the Government regulations in place today make it difficult to add these fuel choices.

In addition to alternative fuels, vehicle efficiency technologies offer another off-ramp towards oil independence. With only one out of every seven gallons of gas being used to move the car forward, it is time to stop waging war in the Middle East and start the war against vehicle inefficiency.

He lists some interesting innovations for increasing fuel efficiency. Check them out.