A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council concludes that West Virginia is among the states that is most vulnerable to increasing gasoline prices and among the states doing the least about its oil addition.
The report is available online here, and this is its basic conclusion:
America’s addiction to oil continues to threaten not only our national security and global environmental health, but also our economic viability. NRDC analyzed how heavily drivers in each state are affected by oil prices and ranked states on their adoption of solutions to reduce their oil dependence — measures they are taking to lessen their vulnerability and to bolster America’s security. NRDC found that gas prices, combined with the economic downturn, are making people more vulnerable to changes in oil prices. But many states are taking significant steps to reduce oil dependence through smart clean-transportation policies.
But in West Virginia, state officials have enacted only one of 10 reforms that would help make us less dependent on oil — idling restrictions for larger commercial vehicles. The report ranked West Virginia 46th in the nation for state efforts to to reduce oil dependence.
At the same time, West Virginians are at great risk to being hurt by rising gas prices, as they are ranked 21st in the country in terms of percentage of income spent on gasoline each year.
Finally, Gov. and Sen.-elect Joe Manchin has pushed the idea that building a series of coal-to-liquids plants around the state can make West Virginia more energy independent, but the NRDC report notes:
There are many promising oil alternatives that could advance energy security and climate change goals. Not all alternatives, however, are created equal. While debates continue with respect to the climate benefits of some biofuels, some alternatives are unquestionably harmful. For example, West Virginia provides an investment tax credit for coalbased synthetic fuels, which are incredibly GHG-intensive.