The Prius Strategy:
How to Displace Iraqi Oil with Energy Efficiency

© Roger Lippman
August 16, 2006

For calculations, sources, and alternative scenarios, click here (Excel spreadsheet).

The problem: a war that has cost $250 billion (as of May 2006), with no plausible explanation except to gain control of Iraq's oil. Another large appropriation is now in Congress. Our representatives will support it until there is a large outcry against continuing to fund this war.

What if we didn't need the oil?

How many new 45 MPG Toyota Priuses would it take to displace the oil we used to get from Iraq?

Government policy should encourage people to junk their gas hogs in exchange for a new, high-efficiency car.

Doodling on the back of the proverbial envelope, I came up with some useful answers. The numbers are approximate, but to the extent that they err, it is on the conservative side.

According to a recently-published study, the war is projected to cost $1 trillion before it is over.

How about getting out of Iraq now, taking $250 billion of the savings to displace Iraq's oil, and using an equivalent amount for hurricane recovery?

Then, we can get to work on energy efficiency investments that will help avoid the temptation for the next war for oil, and avoid contributing to global warming, which appears to be making hurricanes more devastating.

Added benefits (not included in the figuring above):

  •  No one dies for oil.

  •  Annually avoids 58 million tons of carbon dioxide, a cause of global warming.

  •  Creates jobs building new, efficient cars.

  •  We don't make half the world mad at us, breed more terrorism, or spend untold billions more on counter-terrorism.

But: What's in it for Halliburton & friends?

Epilogue: Iraqi oil: Once seen as U.S. boon, now itís mostly Chinaís
Iraq hasnít become the bonanza for big Western international oil companies that some might have expected when the U.S. invaded 10 years ago. Itís a different story, though, for the U.S. oil field services and engineering companies that have established dominant positions in Iraq. That includes Halliburton, the company that Iraq war booster Dick Cheney led before he became vice president. (McClatchy Newspapers, March 27, 2013)

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See also: Dubya Wins a Nobel Prize - a sustainable energy fantasy.

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