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New report says the West Coast could cut its oil use in half by 2030

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Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Traffic moves on the arrival level of Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California (November 21, 2012).

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When it comes to purchasing and promoting electric cars and clean energy, the West Coast stands apart.

California leads the nation in policies encouraging electric-car adoption, and Washington and Oregon aren't far behind.

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In fact, those three states may be poised to reduce their use of fossil fuels dramatically in coming years.

West Coast states could cut oil use in half by 2030, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The report claims that to meet this goal, states can maintain the same policies they have now--including promotion of electric cars and public transportation--but "accelerated and intensified."

"We don't need a lot of fancy new technologies or breakthrough inventions to dramatically reduce our need for oil," said a UCS blog post announcing the report's release.

It notes that West Coast states are already on track for significant reductions in oil use over the next decade and a half.

When fully implemented, current California policies will reduce oil consumption by 24 percent, the UCS says.

Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown called for reducing petroleum used by vehicles on California roads by half, and generating a third of states energy from renewable sources, by 2030.

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Both goals were eventually turned into legislation, with the renewable-energy target raised to 50 percent by 2030.

Oregon and Washington, meanwhile, are set to reduce oil consumption by eight percent by 2030, according to the UCS.

In both of those states, a network of public charging stations along the "West Coast Electric Highway" provides drivers with the infrastructure needed for long road trips.

California, Oregon, and Washington--along with British Columbia--also recently formed a cooperative effort called the Pacific Coast Collaborative.

Under the program, the leaders of each territory have pledged to cooperate in promoting a transition to a low-carbon economy.

The Pacific Coast Collaborative is also intended to demonstrate how regional authorities can take action independent of national governments.

All of the participants in the Pacific Coast Collaborative also signed the the Under 2 MOU, a global agreement among cities and states to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius.

That is the increase in temperature generally recognized by scientists as the threshold for catastrophic climate change.

And on an even more local level, the mayors of five West Coast cities--Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and Eugene--plan to reduce carbon emissions within their cities.

During a two-day summit held at the same time as the December 2015 Paris climate-change talks, they pledged to cut carbon emissions within their jurisdictions 80 percent by 2050.

With so many initiatives underway, it would seem the West Coast states are already well motivated to reduce oil consumption in the near future.

This article first appeared at GreenCarReports.


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