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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : Mar/Apr 2002 : Timelines

Americans Pledge to Save Energy

On-line grassroots campaign increases citizen participation in energy practices and policies.

Americans across the country are mobilizing in a new way—pledging to reduce their energy uses. Just six weeks after launching the Patriot’s Energy Pledge, “energy patriots” have committed to saving over 125,000 barrels of oil through maintaining correct tire pressure, using low-friction oil and purchasing vehicles that are more fuel-efficient.

“We are thrilled by the level of interest and participation the Patriot’s Energy Pledge has received,” commented Larry Rockefeller, a lawyer and co-founder of the Patriot’s Energy Pledge. “Americans are speaking up about our country’s energy policies. And, as our national leaders begin to discuss energy issues, we would encourage them to look at what ‘energy patriots’ around the country are saying.”

The Pledge’s web site (www.Save allows Americans to get involved in decreasing the country’s dependence on foreign oil. The site easily guides visitors through a number of oil-saving options ranging from purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles, using renewable fuels (like biofuel ethanol) as an increasing substitute for oil, and taking steps to make existing vehicles use less fuel. Its campaign site also allows a forum to voice concerns about America’s energy policies as well as express demand for vehicles that operate on alternative fuels.

“Every American can help win the war against terrorism by participating in energy conservation activities,” explained Peter Fox-Penner, an energy economist and co-founder of the Patriot’s Energy Pledge. “If all Americans drove vehicles that averaged 40 miles-per-gallon, our oil consumption would decrease about 13 percent. Not only would this decrease our dependence on oil imported from the Persian Golf, but it would increase global stability and help clean the air.”

The Patriot’s Energy Pledge was created by a volunteer group of energy experts as a way to reduce our national dependence on oil in the coming year. The specific goal of the campaign is to save one million barrels of oil within a year. More generally, the campaign is designed to jump-start American markets for domestic renewable fuels and fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as increase awareness of the costs of American oil dependence.

To join the effort, individuals simply register on-line. Once they have pledged to be an “energy patriot,” they receive customized information and action links to help them meet their pledge. Energy patriots are also sent an “Energy Patriot Certificate” that they can display at their home or in their car to encourage others to join the effort. With their permission, news and alerts about emerging energy policy issues are sent to “energy patriots” keeping them updated about the campaign’s activities.

In addition to taking pledges to conserve oil, the Web site allows users to record their thoughts about U.S. oil dependence. Over 8,000 pledgers have written passages explaining their motivations.

The Pledge is a non-profit project of the American Conservation Association and was developed by Fox-Penner and Rockefeller working with energy experts, economists, environmentalists and corporate volunteers, including Ruben Aronin, Bill Holmberg, Melanie Kenderdine, Ron Minsk, Dave Nemtzow and Ed Osann.

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