Rising gas prices coupled with the economic downturn have magnified the issues associated with consumers' dependence on oil, according to new research by the Natural Resources Defense Council
. As a result, many states are taking action against this dependency, implementing smart clean-transportation programs.

"Especially with today's economic challenges, Americans face a growing threat from our nation's dangerous addiction to oil," said Deron Lovaas, NRDC's transportation policy director. "This report shows how important it is for states to promote clean energy policies that will reduce our dependence on oil, while also reducing global warming pollution."

The report, "Fighting Oil Addiction: Ranking States' Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change," analyzes oil vulnerability, or how each state's drivers are affected by rising oil prices. The research also ranks states in terms of their enactment of solutions to reduce their dependence on oil.

In order, the top 10 states most threatened by oil price increases include Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico, Georgia and Arkansas.

The top 10 states that are doing the best to promote clean energy technologies and reduce their dependence on oil include California, Massachusetts, Washington, New Mexico, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Florida.

The report shows that efforts to promote clean vehicle and fuel technologies as well as transportation alternatives can help states reduce oil dependence.

"The federal government can step in to help states break their addiction to oil by implementing comprehensive clean energy and climate policies and by reforming our national transportation system through an overhauled, performance-driven transportation policy," Lovaas said.

The full report, with state-by-state rankings, can be accessed at: www.nrdc.org/energy/states.