Friday, March 11, 2016

Stalling on Fuel Efficiency

(Credit: Tim Lahan) Click to Enlarge.
The Obama administration’s stringent fuel efficiency standards are intended to reduce auto pollution and drive up gas mileage.  They are the biggest single step any nation has taken to fight global warming.  The rules worked well, at first.  They no longer do.  They can be fixed.

The repairs are all the more important since the Supreme Court last month put a hold on the administration’s plan to limit pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The fuel-economy standards are designed to deliver a new-car fleet averaging 54.5 m.p.g. in 2025.  But this goal is in jeopardy as automakers increase the production of gas-guzzling light trucks, minivans and most S.U.V.s, which are subject to less stringent standards than other cars. These vehicles are driving up oil consumption and pollution and putting at risk American compliance with the Paris climate accord.

Two recent government reports provide ample evidence that to cut carbon dioxide emissions, the administration must strengthen the fuel-efficiency standards for those vehicles.  It should also close loopholes that allow automakers to thwart the intent of the fuel standards while following the letter of the regulations.

Under the rules, fuel efficiency rose five miles per gallon from 2007 to 2013.  But reports from the Environmental Protection Agency show no overall improvement in 2014 models, the most recent year for which data is available.  And with the production of S.U.V.s, pickups and minivans continuing to rise, fuel efficiency and emissions for 2015 vehicles most likely grew worse, though we won’t be able to confirm that until December.

This news comes as the government begins an evaluation of the rules that could result in changes for 2021 through 2025.  Our concern is that the auto industry will use the review, which it sought when the standards were first set, to delay or weaken the rules.

Read more at Stalling on Fuel Efficiency

No comments:

Post a Comment