Rep. Earl Blumenauer and the congressional Livable Communities Task Force are still patiently trying to explain to the rest of Congress that it might be a good idea for people to be able to move around without cars. Yesterday, the task force put out a report outlining the startling concept that people might be less affected by gas prices if they didn't have to drive as much. Instead of drilling for more oil to address gas prices, we could just use less!  SHOCKING.

Here are its policy recommendations:

  • Set clear national priorities for our transportation system, including a strategy and performance measures for reducing oil consumption.
  • Require Metropolitan Planning Organizations to evaluate the effects of new transportation projects on regional petroleum consumption.
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  • Promote Pay-As-You-Drive insurance, allowing consumers to pay less if they drive less.
  • Encourage lenders to use transit accessibility and location efficiency as a factor in mortgage rates, taking into account the reduced spending on gas and making it easier to purchase a home that allows transportation savings.
  • Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

  • Provide consumers with information about the transportation costs associated with the location of a house through a tool like the Transportation and Housing Affordability Index
  • Use the tax code to encourage businesses to offer comprehensive commuter benefit programs that level the playing field for alternative, non gas-dependent transportation.
  • Increase federal funding for transit, including allowing capital funds to be spent on operations, helping transit agencies deal with increased fuel prices without compromising service or access.
  • Increase funding for “Safe Routes to School” programs so that parents and children have the option to get to school safely without driving.
  • Support “Complete Streets” policies that design streets for all users, making it safer for people of all ages to travel by bike, foot, or public transportation.
  • Authorize the Office of Sustainable Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and provide funding to the Partnership for Sustainable Communities so that the agencies can continue to provide technical assistance, planning, and capital support to communities.
  • Continue to increase fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles, which could save drivers the equivalent of $1.00-1.70 per gallon of gas.
  • Increase investment in alternative fuels like electric vehicles, which could save drivers $1000 in fuel costs each year.