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National Security Leaders, CEOs Call for
Action to Reduce California Oil Dependence

Former Sec Shultz and Panel Cite Skyrocketing State Oil Imports, Price Shocks, Federal Inaction in Report

Sacramento, CA – A diverse group of leaders, including President Reagan’s Secretary of State, released a report today that said California would benefit if it took a leadership role in reducing its dependence on oil. Recent developments in the Middle East support the need for the report’s recommendations.

“Since President Nixon started addressing the issue, the nation’s dependence on imported oil has only gotten worse. Given that we’ve been going in the wrong direction over the past 38 years, it’s time for California and other states to do what they can to reduce their use of oil. If they do so, it will be good for the nation,” said George Shultz, Secretary of State under President Reagan and currently a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute.

When President Nixon announced his Energy Independence campaign in 1973, the United States only imported 30 percent of its oil. Today, the nation relies on imports for more than 60 percent of its oil. Historically, California was an anomaly and used very little foreign oil (about 5%) because of its own rich oil fields and use of Alaskan oil. However, per reports from the California Energy Commission (CEC), today California relies on foreign sources for about half of its oil. Nearly half of these imports come from the volatile Middle East.

“The California oil situation has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. We’ve gone from a relatively secure position to a very insecure one. Our exposure to the vagaries and instability of the world oil market have increased by a factor of 10 since the early 1990’s,” said Jim Boyd, Vice Chairman of the California Energy Commission.

A bipartisan alliance concerned about California’s oil dependence, the California Secure Transportation Energy Partnership (CalSTEP), released the California Action Plan 2.0 for Transportation Energy Security, which “contends that California should act as a leader on energy security, much as it has done on improving air quality and cutting global warming emissions.” According to the report, a commitment to reduce our dependence on imported oil will lead to investments in clean forms of energy, strengthen national security and create jobs.

“California will be the leading ‘patriot state’ if it’s successful in reducing its dependence on foreign oil,” said Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, a former commander of the U.S. Navy’s 3rd Fleet. “Our rapidly growing dependence on oil threatens our national security, makes our state economy vulnerable to international conflicts, and demands immediate and bold action.”

The partners of CalSTEP – who are experts in national security, foreign relations, vehicle technologies, cleantech investments, alternative fuels, and mobility options – call for action steps to help California reduce its dependence on petroleum. These recommendations include:

• Set a firm petroleum reduction target of 15 percent below 2003 levels by 2020 and require 26 percent of transportation fuel used in California to come from alternative sources by 2022. These two goals were already established by state agencies after conducting rigorous analysis and receiving significant public input.

  • “Stay the course” in terms of setting and enforcing strong and consistent vehicle and fuel standards (i.e. Advanced Clean Cars, Low Carbon Fuels Standard).
  • Maintain existing levels of public funding for clean transportation solutions that reduce petroleum dependence and transportation-related pollution.
  • Provide auto insurance that rewards people who drive less and use public transit, bike or walk.

See the report for a full list of recommendations.

“Californians spend $150 million a day on petroleum fuels, and now, much of that money is going overseas. California’s economy will be strengthened if it’s able to generate more renewable fuels and cuts its oil imports,” said Sven Strohband, a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mohr Davidow.

CalSTEP is a diverse partnership formed in 2005 to identify solutions to California’s energy challenges. The partnership released its first Action Plan in 2007, which led to the adoption of innovative and successful policies that are driving the development and commercialization of clean, advanced technologies. CalSTEP spearheaded adoption of the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (AB 118, 2007, Núñez), which provides up to $200 million of vitally important funding for clean transportation technology development and deployment. The group also recommended similar policy initiatives that closely mirror the Low Carbon Fuels Standard and the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (SB 375, 2008, Steinberg).

The members of CalSTEP include: John Boesel, President and CEO, CALSTART; James D. Boyd, Vice Chair, California Energy Commission; Fred Keeley, Treasurer, City of Santa Cruz; Neil Koehler, President and CEO, Pacific Ethanol; Arthur Leahy, CEO, LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Andrew J. Littlefair, President and CEO, Clean Energy; Dr. Alan C. Lloyd, President, International Council on Clean Transportation; Jeremy Madsen, Executive Director, Greenbelt Alliance; Dennis McGinn, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (RET); Reg Modlin, Director, Regulatory Affairs, Chrysler; Patricia Monahan, former California Director, Deputy Director, Clean Vehicles Program, Union of Concerned Scientists; Diarmuid O’Connell, Vice President, Corporate and Business Development, Tesla Motors; George Shultz, Distinguished Fellow, Hoover Institution; Sven Strohband, Partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures; Dr. James Sweeney, Director, Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency, Stanford University; Bjorn Wessman, Vice President and General Manager, Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from For more information about CalSTEP, go to


CALSTART is the only organization working nationally to foster the rapid growth of the entire clean transportation technology industry. Building on its strong base of knowledge and operations in California, CALSTART serves as a catalyst for the comprehensive clean transportation industry as a way to create more jobs, clean the air, make the country more secure, and reduce the threat of global warming. CALSTART manages leading edge technology programs while providing value-added services to its 130 member companies and consulting clients. For more information visit: .

About California Secure Energy Transportation Partnership
CALSTART launched the Secure Transportation Energy Partnership in June 2005 as a bipartisan coalition of key California stakeholders from the private, public, and non-governmental sectors. CalSTEP seeks to move past political impasse, to not just provoke research and education but to help create consensus and spur action within California to secure the state’s transportation energy future.

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