Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats have announced agreement on a vehicle scrappage program that would offer vouchers of $3,500 or $4,500 for consumers to retire their vehicles and purchase new ones. Unlike the scrappage bill introduced in January, which aims to accelerate the modernization of the U.S. fleet to a more fuel-efficient one, the program just announced aims primarily to clear Detroit’s unsold inventory from the storage lots.
Washington, D.C. — ACEEE commends the intent of Representative Sutton, sponsor of the CARS Act, to help the U.S. auto industry emerge successfully from the current crisis while reducing oil dependence and global warming emissions. Unfortunately, the vehicle scrappage program outlined by the bill as introduced would not achieve its energy and environmental objectives.
The most serious shortcomings of the bill are:
Washington, D.C. — The Department of Transportation today announced new fuel economy standards averaging 27.3 miles per gallon for model year 2011 cars and light trucks. The standards are disappointing. They are weaker than the standards proposed last spring, and those were based on an unrealistically low gasoline price forecast. A reasonable price forecast should have led to higher standards, not lower ones.
Washington, D.C. — With the auto industry in turmoil and energy prices in flux, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy today released environmental ratings for model year 2009 vehicles. This is the twelfth year ACEEE has published its rankings as part of ACEEE’s Green Book® Online, the organization’s environmental guide to cars and trucks, available at greenercars.org.
Washington, D.C. — The Accelerated Retirement of Inefficient Vehicles Retirement Act of 2009 (ARIVA), introduced in the House and Senate this morning, will help consumers dissatisfied with their gas guzzlers to retire those vehicles and replace them with fuel-efficient vehicles. ARIVA is designed to speed up the transition to a low-consuming vehicle stock in the U.S. “Unstable gasoline prices, tight household budgets, and signs of global warming are causing many consumers to rethink their vehicle preferences,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel.
The energy bill provides tax credits for heavy-duty hybrid vehicles in the period January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2009. The credit amount depends on the weight class of the vehicle, its fuel economy relative to a comparable conventional vehicle, and the incremental cost.
A hybrid vehicle's incremental cost is defined as the amount by which the manufacturer's suggested retail price of the hybrid exceeds that of a "comparable" vehicle; but it is capped by class:
In October, ACEEE released The 2008 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, the second annual edition of the state-by-state rankings on energy efficiency programs and policies.
Last month ACEEE finalized a new on-line resource for state policymakers and energy efficiency advocates, the State Energy Efficiency Policy Database. The site serves as an easy-to-use on-line database of energy efficiency policies in the states, searchable by state or by policy. Each state has separate pages for each extant policy area, with links to external resources, information on useful contacts, and ACEEE research.
On Oct. 3, 2008, the President signed into law legislation to extend many of the Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives first enacted in 2005 but that expired at the end of 2007 or that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2008. The bill also includes extensions of a variety of renewable energy tax incentives. The energy efficiency provisions include:
In April, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a rule to ramp up fuel economy (CAFE) standards over the years 2011-2015, reaching an average of 31.6 miles per gallon in 2015. The rule represents the first phase in implementing the requirement in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that new cars and trucks reach at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020, an increase of 40% over today's levels.