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EPA Report: Vehicle C02 Emissions Are at a Record Low
For new cars and trucks released in 2017, carbon dioxide emissions reached a record low, and mileage per gallon reached an all time high, according an U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) report released Wednesday.
The findings are leading many environmental advocates to ask, if Obama-era fuel economy standards seem to be working, why roll them back, as Trump's EPA has proposed?
"The EPA's report demonstrates that standards are working to bring us cleaner, more efficient cars," Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Clean Vehicles and Fuels Group Director Luke Tonachel wrote. "There's no reason to turn back. The Trump administration's plan to rollback the standards will cost Americans more at the pump and make us all suffer from increased vehicle pollution. We should keep the current strong standards and look forward to more positive progress reports in the future."
The EPA data shows that the average real world carbon dioxide emissions rate for new vehicles released in model year 2017 fell by 3 grams per mile (g/mi) to a record low of 357 g/mi. Fuel efficiency climbed 0.2 miles per gallon (mpg) to 24.9. Since 2004, both fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions have improved in 11 out of 13 years.
Manufacturers expect to do even better in 2018, lowering emissions to 348 g/mi and raising fuel economy to 25.4 mpg.
Estimated emissions and fuel economy for model years since 1975. 2018 projections are shown with the red dots.EPA
The EPA's data also acknowledged that both fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions had improved significantly since tougher standards were put in place in 2012. In that five year period, the industry lowered emissions by 21 g/mi and improved fuel economy by 1.3 mpg. That amounts to saving customers more than $65 billion in gas money and keeping 325 million metric tons of climate-change causing carbon out of the atmosphere, NRDC reported.
EPA data also shows how individual manufacturers performed in that five year period. Subaru led the industry in reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency over the entire five years, while Honda performed the best in most metrics in 2017.
How major car makers performed in terms of reducing emissions and improving fuel economy from 2012 to 2017EPA
Despite the apparent success of fuel efficiency standards, newly-confirmed EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler still used the report to justify his plans to lower them. That is because most manufacturers used credits from over-complying in previous years, along with technological innovation, to comply with standards in 2017.
"Today's report shows that while the auto industry continues to increase fuel economy, there are legitimate concerns about the ability to cost-effectively achieve the Obama administration's standards in the near future," Wheeler said in a news release reported by Bloomberg.
Automakers will be entering the 2018 model year with more than 249 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2 credits, thanks to doing better than required in previous years. While they've had to use some of these credits again this year, the industry used less than last year (18 MMT worth vs 30 MMT). That's because automakers improved their fleets in 2017 at a rate greater than required, which helps illustrate the year-to-year variance in model updates and the way in which banked credits are planned as apart of an overall compliance strategy.
To put that 249 MMT of banked credits in context, manufacturers could actually do absolutely nothing to improve the efficiency of their vehicles until 2020 and still continue to comply with the standards.
Both Cooke and Tonachel argued that lowering standards would hurt innovation. Cooke said that the report showed that most companies had only invested in a few of the possible technologies to improve their fuel efficiency, indicating that there was ample room for improvement. If fuel efficiency standards are maintained, gas-powered vehicles could reach an average of 36 mpg on by 2025 using existing technologies, Tonachel wrote.
"Rolling back the standards will only disrupt innovation and leave drivers with higher fuel bills," he said.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."