The United States consumes more than 20 million barrels of oil each day, approximately 58% of which is imported from foreign sources, according to the Energy Information Administration. In New York State the problem is more acute, with this figure increasing to more than 85%. Many of these wells exist in geopolitically unstable regions, making them prone to disruptions in supply that jeopardize our energy security. An annual growth in consumption combined with relatively unchanged domestic production has this dependence projected to increase into the foreseeable future. Because AFVs can operate on domestically produced fuels, they can be instrumental in our efforts to reduce the State's dependence on imported oil.
Air pollution has been linked to a growing number of human health problems, including cancer, heart disease, asthma, and emphysema. This pollution can be traced back to a number of sources, one of the most pervasive of which is the petroleum-powered vehicle. Through the combustion of fossil fuels like gasoline or diesel, cars and trucks produce exhaust gases that contain a number of pollutants that cause poor air quality and smog, including: carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and nitrogen oxides (NOX). Vehicular pollutants like sulfur oxides (SOX) and carbon dioxide (CO2) have other environmental repercussions, contributing to acid rain and global warming, respectively. Cars and trucks have been responsible for 51% of CO emissions nationwide, plus 33.8% of NOX and 29.2% of VOC, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . By introducing cleaner-burning alternative fuel vehicles into as many markets as possible, the levels of many of these pollutants can be substantially reduced.
The United States accounts for 26% of the world's oil consumption and 9% of the world's oil production, but has only 2% of the world's oil reserves.