Environmentalists were there to lighten their ecological footprint. Neocons were there to lighten the fat Saudi pocketbook, full of petro dollars that fund terrorism. According to Robert Bryce, writing in Slate, the strange bedfellows have come together to advocate measures that would increase car fuel efficiency, lessen foreign oil dependence, and pump up renewables.

While Bryce pitches the “sleeping with the enemy” angle, the key point is there are multiple, compelling reasons to aggressively pursue (and for the government to subsidize) energy efficiency, renewables and alternatives to fossil fuels, and reduced dependence on overseas oil. Greens have often worked this issue with one hand tied behind their backs.The environmental and economic arguments are familiar and well-founded. And perhaps the popularity of the Prius will finally convince Detroit of the ready market for greener vehicles.

But geopolitical arguments for reducing dependence on foreign oil should carry water with those strictly concerned with narrow security considerations as well. Broadening the base of supporters has been a running theme of recent Gristmill posts and this example seems to be another candidate.

And by the way, it really is all about transportation. Check out this Department of Energy figure (PDF) tracking petroleum use by sector from 1950 to 2003 and see how it climbs!

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.