George W Bush famously declared in his 2006 State of the Union speech that "America is addicted to oil."
But either he didn't know much about addiction, or he didn't recognise his own addiction because he did nothing to help wean the U.S. off its oil addiction. A few weeks after the speech, the budget he sent to Congress cut $100 million from federal energy conservation programs.
The addiction analogy is compelling and widely used. Andrew Sims uses it in this Guardian article that discusses our deep dependence on oil and our unpreparedness for necessary change. Carol Linnitt uses the addiction analogy in this Desmogblog article about the tactics used by Canadian governments to keep pumping oil regardless of the environmental damage.
In his article about Bikeshares, Adam Jones says says America is addicted to oil and that coming up with feasible alternatives to treat that addiction hasn’t been easy. Sticking to the analogy, Jones recommends Bikeshares as the "methadone of transportation".
Brigadier General Steve Anderson calls on Americans to wean themselves off their oil addiction. He says this should be a top priority for all politicians, regardless of party and says it starts with dealing in facts—not fiction—about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and its nonexistent role in lowering gas prices.
Australian academic Samuel Alexander describes the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as testament to the world’s addiction to oil, because it suggests that the world would sooner go out on a limb and risk great injury, rather than rethink consumption.
Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), lashes governments once more for their inaction.
Our addiction to fossil fuels grows stronger each year. Many clean energy technologies are available but they are not being deployed quickly enough to avert potentially disastrous consequences.
To meet the carbon cuts that scientists calculate are needed, the IEA says the world needs to generate 28% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 47% by 2035. Yet renewables now make up just 16% of global electricity supply.
Van der Hoeven puts the blame squarely on policymakers, and she challenges ministers to step up to the task of weaning the world off its addiction to oil.