American cars and trucks burn two of verery three barrels of oil used in the United states -- and one of every seven worldwide -- a figure that is hardly surprising, given that economy standards have been frozen since 1988. Today, American cars need to achieve and average fuel economy of just 27.5 miles per gallon, while "light trucks," that hugely popular category that includes pickups and SUVs, need achieve only 20.5 miles per gallon. Even a modest improvement in fuel-economy standards -- say, 32 mpg for cars and 24 mpg for light trucks -- would by 2010 be saving 2.7 million barrels per day -- or nearly twice as much as could be pumped every day from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
While we can quibble over some of the numbers (and remember that this book is now about 2 years old, so things have gotten even worse), this is another in a big pile of examples out there about how we need to straighten up in terms of our energy consumption. Oil is going fast, and climate is changing faster. This is not a problem for the next generation or the one after that. These are issues that will be the MOST IMPORTANT IN THE WORLD in the next decade. This IS LIFE AND DEATH for thousands - maybe millions - of people who are alive today. Let's address things now and save the world... does that sound optimistic? Yeah, you didn't think I could do it, did you?