Major Increases in Car and Light Truck Fuel Economy Standards Take Shape, but Some Provisions Could Undermine Economic and Environmental Benefits
Washington, D.C.—President Obama today presented a plan to increase fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for cars and light trucks in 2017-2025 that would raise fuel economy to 75 percent above 2010 levels. “This is a major step in reducing our oil dependence and consumers’ vulnerability to high gasoline costs,” said ACEEE Transportation Program Director Therese Langer. “By 2030, this round of standards could save more oil than we currently import from Saudi Arabia and Iraq, combined.”
Growing uneasiness about U.S. oil dependence means interest is high once again in energy legislation and petroleum legislation in particular. Upward fuel price trends of recent months, reflecting both turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, plus the gradual recovery of the global economy, have prompted calls for decisive action by policymakers. At such a time, it is important to be clear on the range of policy options available to address the problem and how effective these policies might be.
How does where we build our homes, businesses, and transportation infrastructure impact our energy use? A recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report attempts to tackle just that question. The report analyzes the energy use associated with different housing and neighborhood types. It also serves as a concise and readable primer on research related to the energy implications of “location efficiency.”
UPDATED: February 16, 2011 — Due to a mistaken vehicle emissions specification, our Greenest List inadvertently omitted the Mazda 2 (manual transmission), which beats the Chevrolet Volt by a hair. Both vehicles have Green Scores of 48. Hence this year’s Greenest List now features 13 vehicles, instead of the customary dozen. We regret the error.