Where the U.S. is burning its oil

When President Obama announced new fuel efficiency standards for cars a few weeks ago — the average fleet mileage would rise to 54.5 mpg by 2025 —  this nifty graphic was posted on the White House website.

I think the bar at the right is the most interesting part: it provides an idea where oil/gasoline is being used in the transportation sector. Not surprisingly, light-duty vehicles such as pickup trucks, vans and SUVs are the big consumers, as well as trucks and buses.

Many buses in the nation have been converted to use compressed natural gas (almost all of Metro’s burn CNG; the rest are hybrids or electric), which burns cleaner than gasoline. Earlier this week, President Obama also announced the first ever fuel-efficiency standards for trucks and buses.

Of course, the overall message here is that the U.S. is burning an awful lot of oil for many reasons and, thus, producing a lot of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. As I’ve noted before, transit produces fewer greenhouse gases per person — a very good reason to take it, even if once in a  while. Check out this chart, from the Federal Transit Administration: