Reducing Food Miles

The agriculture industry is heavily dependent on petroleum and transportation accounts for 14 percent of all the energy used.  The U.S. fruit and vegetable industry is especially affected by rising diesel fuel prices--more than 50 percent of the nation's produce is grown in California and the shipped across the country refrigerated trucks.  Growing produce locally dramatically cuts fuel consumption.  The figure below from the Leopold Center calculate food miles for local versus conventional produce.

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Buffering Against Higher Oil Prices

High tunnels move fruit and vegetable production closer to home, cutting shipping distances and reducing dependance on oil. 

Oil prices are expected to exceed $200 by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).  Its World Energy Outlook 2009 report states that “while market imbalances could temporarily cause prices to fall back, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the era of cheap oil is over” and that “Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable.”  The IEA estimates that by 2010 oil companies will have to commit to projects producing almost as much oil as Saudi Arabia if the world is to avoid a supply crunch by the middle of the next decade.

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