FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS
Most U.S. cars and trucks churn out several times their weight in greenhouse gases every year — and that’s a lot of gases. Add those molecules together, and vehicles are to blame for about a third of the country’s climate-changing emissions.
Unless strict emissions-reduction policies are in place, this pollution will increase dramatically as more cars and trucks hit the roads — and airplanes and ships only add to the problem. The Center works for regulations that restrict vehicle emissions and take advantage of alternative-fuels technology for the benefit of the planet.
After major advances in U.S. vehicle fuel economy in the late 1970s in the wake of the oil embargo and the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act, fuel economy stagnated and even regressed for several decades. Thankfully, in November 2007, the Center won a major lawsuit against the Department of Transportation for failing to properly account for greenhouse gas emissions when setting unreasonably low national fuel economy standards for pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles. And in December 2007, Congress mandated an increase in fuel economy to 35 miles per gallon for all passenger vehicles by 2020.
Things are changing, but they aren’t changing fast enough. We urgently need to transition to hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles that are powered by renewable energy. In addition, we must change our transportation and land-use patterns to begin reducing our country’s total vehicle miles traveled each year. The Center is working on all aspects of this problem, from advocating for increased fuel economy standards to challenging new sprawl developments.
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