SAFE Energy Security Leadership Council Releases National Strategy for Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution

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Report presents recommendations to improve American oil security through domestic production, fuel competition, driverless technology, and anti-cartel measures

Frederick W. Smith, President and CEO, FedEx Corporation; co-Chair, Energy Security Leadership Council

“This National Strategy details the enormous continued risks to our economy and national security posed by our dependence on oil to fuel transportation,” said Frederick W. Smith

FedEx Corporation Chairman, President and CEO Frederick W. Smith and 34th U.S. Marine Corps Commandant James Conway (Ret.) joined by special guests today released a comprehensive pathway to bolstering America’s oil security. The National Strategy for Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution offers a range of solutions to the challenges created by recurring extreme oil price volatility, exacerbated by the anti-market conduct of foreign governments and national oil companies.

“This National Strategy details the enormous continued risks to our economy and national security posed by our dependence on oil to fuel transportation,” said Energy Security Leadership Council co-Chair and FedEx Chairman, President and CEO Frederick W. Smith. “We’re on the cusp of the largest ground transportation transformation since the invention of the Model T, and we must ensure that unnecessary and outdated regulations don’t encumber its potential. Through a wholly new value proposition that promises a fundamental shift in how we move people and goods, autonomous vehicles will accelerate the adoption of advanced fuel vehicles while making our roads safer and our transportation system far more efficient,” Smith added.

A project of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) and co-Chaired by Mr. Smith and General Conway, the Energy Security Leadership Council (Council) is an alliance of business and retired military leaders dedicated to mitigating the severe threat of oil dependence to America’s economic prosperity and national security.

The National Strategy calls on government to support, rather than hinder, the innovation revolution now underway, one in which connected, autonomous vehicles powered by advanced fuels like electricity and natural gas end the monopoly of and drastically reduce demand for oil in the transportation sector while virtually eliminating crash fatalities and granting new mobility to millions of Americans.

To advance the next generation of transportation technologies, the Council issued several recommendations:

-Remove federal regulatory obstacles to the deployment of autonomous vehicles and allow broad commercialization once they are as safe as today’s cars.
-Federal rules on autonomous vehicles should preempt state standards. Varying state AV standards would create a patchwork of regulations and stymie adoption.
-Federal regulation on automotive safety should evolve to a more flexible and collaborative model based on performance-based standards.
-Establish autonomous vehicle deployment communities to test the technology and encourage public engagement.
-Create an alternative liability framework for early autonomous vehicle deployment to encourage adoption.
-State and federal governments should encourage the utilization of autonomous vehicles to expand mobility options for underserved groups.

These were supplemented with policy recommendations to accelerate the adoption of advanced fuel vehicles powered by diverse energy sources:

-Restructure federal tax incentive for electric vehicles to remove the 200,000 vehicle-per-manufacturer cap and phase down beginning in 2021.
-Reduce the value of the federal EV tax credit for vehicles over $40,000. Remove it completely for vehicles over $55,000.
-Create incentives for medium and heavy-duty advanced fuel vehicle purchases.
-Create performance-based standards for freight trucks that enhance freight efficiency and reduce oil consumption without negatively impacting road infrastructure or safety.

These recommendations were highlighted at Thursday’s event, which featured special guests ranging from Silicon Valley to the Oil Patch, including Google Self-Driving Cars CEO John Krafcik, Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Waste Management, Transdev North America, Peloton Technology, NVIDIA Corporation, and moovel Group.

The report also highlights the strategic importance of the United States’ vast oil and gas resources and advocates for the responsible and safe production of oil on currently closed-off federal lands, including in the Arctic and portions of the Outer Continental Shelf.

“Americans should have a choice of many transportation fuels, but in the meantime, taking advantage of our own abundant resources will allow us to better prepare ourselves for oil price shocks and supply disruptions in unstable oil producing regions, like the Middle East or Venezuela,” said Energy Security Leadership Council co-Chair and 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General James T. Conway (Ret.). “True fuel diversity, combined with smart stewardship of our domestic resources will help ensure that we are no longer forced to put our servicemen and women into harm’s way to keep the supply of oil flowing, and by relying less on this strategic commodity for our mobility, we will be able to make smarter foreign policy decisions while asserting our military more effectively, and only when necessary.”

The Council recommended policies that would take advantage of increased U.S. oil production to improve American energy security and combat manipulation of the global oil market:

-Establish an Energy Security Trust Fund seeded with revenues from new production on the Outer Continental Shelf to fund R&D in transportation and fuel diversity technologies.
-Support responsible energy production in the Arctic, including the limited development of the ANWR using extended reach drilling and strict surface occupancy restrictions
-Establish a commission of experts to investigate anticompetitive actions by OPEC, its member states, and other national oil companies, assess their impact on the U.S. economy, and put forth policy recommendations.
-Build an international consensus among oil-consuming nations on the importance of shared responsibility and coordinated action to deal with future oil supply interruptions.
-Use the diplomatic force of the U.S. government to advocate—especially through hydraulic fracturing technology—for the development of oil and gas resources around the globe.

The National Strategy for Energy Security: The Innovation Revolution is available online at SAFE’s website.

About Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE)
Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is a nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil and improve U.S. energy security to bolster national security and strengthen the economy. SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in fuel efficiency, and in the long-term, breaking oil’s stranglehold on the transportation sector through alternatives like natural gas for heavy-duty trucks and plug-in electric vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing U.S. oil dependence.

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Ellen Carey
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