On Thursday, December 22nd, the Sierra Club North Star Chapter released the report Vulnerability or Strength: How Minnesota Can Move Beyond Oil, documenting the true cost of Minnesota’s oil addiction, and solutions to solve the energy crisis in our state. The report was released at the Saint Paul home of Michael and Jamie Mason, who along with their three children have reduced their consumption of oil and saved their family money by trying to incorporate bicycling, walking, and public transportation into their holiday shopping and their daily routine.“We shield ourselves from spending too much on gas by limiting our trips and combining trips we take by car,” said Michael. “Biking has made it very easy for my family to budget for gassing up our vehicle. When I started biking and riding the bus to work, we donated our second vehicle to Disabled American Veterans and cut down that expense substantially.” In Minnesota, 40% of trips taken by car are within two miles of the home, a fact that helps the Masons substantially reduce their oil consumption. “For many shorter trips in the area, we bike or walk to such things as the State Fair, Como Zoo and Conservatory and even to drop off our son at pre-school,” said Michael. The financial impact of all that extra driving adds up for Minnesota – importing foreign oil results in billions of dollars lost from Minnesota’s economy every year. In the past decade, Minnesotans have spent an average of $10 billion annually on oil. “Every drop of oil we use is imported, most of which – over 80% – is the dirtiest and most destructive oil on Earth, mined from tar sands in Canada,” said Joshua Houdek, Land Use and Transportation Program Manager for the Sierra Club North Star Chapter. “Our dependence on foreign oil shackles us to the whims of the global market, and leaves Minnesotans vulnerable to fluctuations in international prices. Vulnerability or Strength: How Minnesota Can Move Beyond Oil describes many of the easy, common-sense solutions we can take right now to start weaning our state off of its reliance on this volatile and finite power source. From better fuel efficiency standards for cars to constructing more livable, walkable communities – the solutions can help us create good jobs, and strengthen our local economy. The full text of the report is available online at http://northstar.sierraclub.org/oilreport.