In 2004, Rocky Mountain Institute's Chief Scientist, Chairman and Co-founder Amory Lovins and a team of RMI collaborators accomplished a highly complex and innovative task—the drafting of a roadmap for the United States to get completely off oil by 2050, led by business for profit.
The result became a thoroughly researched, highly analytical yet practical book called "Winning the Oil Endgame" (WTOE).
Following its release, RMI began working with key industry stakeholders to accelerate key components of the WTOE strategy. To aid in its implementation, RMI raised $3.6 million from private donors and foundations.
This has led to many critical projects, including:
- Supporting the initial stages of Walmart's efforts with its suppliers to increase the efficiency of the firm's new heavy trucks by 25 percent through 2008 (the actual reduction in fuel intensity vs. 2005 was 38 percent), and to set a goal of doubled efficiency by 2015.
- Working with a consortium of industry leaders, including Google, Alcoa, Johnson Controls and Turner Foundation, to found Bright Automotive, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) development company.
- Convening industry and policy leaders to devise optimal structures for "feebates"—an innovative, revenue-neutral way to get very efficient cars on the road faster. France adopted a similar policy in late 2007, and in the following year, sales of inefficient cars fell 42 percent while sales of efficient cars rose 50 percent.
- Partnering with a major automaker to create a transformational, super-efficient vehicle concept that has now entered production development.
- Partnering with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and major industry players to host an accelerated innovation lab focused on catalyzing next generation cellulosic biofuels.
- Helping the U.S. Department of Defense adopt and analyze new rules that valued saved fuel at its fully burdened cost delivered to the platform in theater in wartime (often tens and sometimes hundreds of dollars per gallon), thus driving efficiency innovation that will accelerate efficiency in civilian vehicles.
Learn how RMI multiplied the original funding into at least $375 million in measurable benefits.
Although "Winning the Oil Endgame" is centered on the United States, RMI is expanding its reach, especially given that most of the growth in oil consumption comes from developing markets. To that end, we recently completed the translation of WTOE in Chinese (Simplified Characters) with Tsinghua University.
The Innovation Dial
While many of these projects involved for-profit clients, philanthropic funding enables RMI to “turn up the innovation dial." RMI’s hybrid grant/consulting model enables our organization to propose and push for breakthrough changes that ultimately bring the biggest mission — and margin — value.
The Road Ahead
While WTOE has helped accomplish tremendous efficiency achievements, we still have a long and arduous path ahead. The United States is still about 60 percent dependent on imported oil. World oil consumption is still increasing, especially with growth in developing nations like India and China.
We are therefore increasing our efforts and launching Phase II of WTOE implementation. Retaining the best practices from Phase I, our efforts to implement WTOE in Phase II will have four characteristics:
- High-level influence
- Entrepreneurial innovation
- Company engagements
- Public outreach
The areas of focus will continue to include the military, the automotive and trucking sectors and next-generation biofuels, and become more involved with aviation and freight.
Contact us to inquire about using RMI’s MOVE services for your next project or to speak to an expert about our work.