Obama Orders Stricter Fuel Efficiency Standards For Big Trucks
Trucks on U.S. roads and highways have long needed an efficiency makeover, and President Barack Obama demanded it Tuesday afternoon in Maryland.
Obama said his administration will issue tougher fuel-efficiency standards for delivery trucks by March 2016, The Associated Press reported. Heavy-duty trucks are only 4 percent of the vehicles on the country's roads, but account for about 20 percent of the greenhouse gases that the transportation sector emits into the air.
"For decades the fuel efficiency standards of our cars and trucks were stuck in neutral," the president said. "We're going to double the distance our cars and light trucks can go on a gallon of gas by 2025."
The 2016 order will empower the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop new standards that should be ready for automakers to incorporate into the 2018 vehicle model year. Obama said investing in research to drive down emissions would make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil, which preserves consumer funds and reduces greenhouse gas emissions—an effect he dubbed a "win-win-win."
He said that the EPA and Transportation heads would partner with manufacturers, states, truckers and autoworkers to come up with a proposal by March 2015.
"Businesses that buy these types of trucks have sent a clear message to the nearly 30,000 workers who build them: We want trucks that use less oil, save more money, cut pollution," Obama said.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) was among the organizations that supported the president's plan.
“ACEEE strongly supports the president’s work to continue the improvements in heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency initiated through the first phase of standards, adopted in 2011," ACEEE Transportation Program Director Therese Langer said in a statement. "There are major opportunities to further reduce heavy-duty truck fuel consumption while saving truck owners thousands of dollars per year, and the actions announced today will help to ensure that these savings are realized."
So far, 23 companies have joined the National Clean Fleets Partnership, pledging to reduce their oil consumption or replace old truck fleets with more fuel-efficient models. Those companies operate about 1 million commercial vehicles across the country.
"If rivals like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, or UPS and FedEx, or AT&T and Verizon—if they can join together on this, then maybe Democrats and Republicans can do the same," he said.
According to the White House, Obama's first round of fuel efficiency standards for trucks will save $50 billion in fuel costs and 530 million barrels of oil.
Visit EcoWatch’s TRANSPORTATION page for more related news on this topic.
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
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Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.
She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.
"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.
She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.
This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.
"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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