By Gen. Charles F. Wald
This post originally appeared in The Virginian-Pilot. An excerpt is below.
The United States is hooked on oil for transportation and Virginians are paying the price. We are the world’s largest consumer of petroleum, accounting for one-fifth of the world’s daily supply. The U.S. spends $81 billion annually to protect oil supplies from other countries. Our dependence on this volatile commodity, which is traded on an unfair market, jeopardizes U.S. economic sovereignty and reorders U.S. foreign policy priorities when we cannot afford either.
Virginia is home to 115,000 active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces, more than nearly any other state in the country. As our brave soldiers face a rapidly evolving global landscape and emerging threats from around the world, we must ensure our energy needs do not harm our national security and our position as a global leader.
The solution is to kick our oil habit and diversify our transportation fuels here at home. Our U.S. transportation system is 92% reliant on petroleum and accounts for 70% of the oil we use daily. This dependency leaves us vulnerable to the pricefixing whims of the Saudi Arabia-led oil cartel, underscoring the importance of the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act awaiting an up-or-down vote in Congress.
General Charles F. “Chuck” Wald was Deputy Commander, Headquarters United States European Command, Stuttgart, Germany and is a member of SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council.