By Luke Tonachel
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to roll back emission safeguards against sales of dirty trucks, leaving the public to cough and wheeze on more air pollution. NRDC is opposing the rollback at a public hearing on Dec. 4 in Washington, DC.
The EPA proposal would lift restrictions on the number of new trucks that can be sold using old, refurbished engines (so-called "glider vehicles") that don't meet modern emissions standards. The proposal creates a dirty truck loophole that permits niche industry players to circumvent necessary clean air safeguards and sell an unlimited number of new, dirty trucks on the cheap.
On Jan. 17 in Detroit, the headquarters of major U.S. automakers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) held public hearings on a landmark and broadly supported proposal to provide cleaner, more fuel efficient cars for America.
The hearing is the first of three that will allow for public input on proposed fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2017-2025 passenger vehicles. Hilary Sinnamon will testify in favor of the historic proposal for Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
“Cleaner, more efficient cars are a triple play for Americans,” said Sinnamon. “They’ll help reduce our dependence on imported oil, save families money at the gas pump, and reduce dangerous air pollution. This is an opportunity to improve both our economy and our environment in one step; that’s why the auto industry, labor unions and environmentalists are all supporting it.”
You can read Sinnamon’s full testimony here.
The proposed standards call for fleet-wide average performance comparable to 54.5 miles per gallon, or 163 grams per mile of carbon dioxide, by model year 2025.
Together with the model year 2012-2016 clean car standards finalized in 2010, the light duty fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas program is expected to reduce oil consumption by an estimated 12 billion barrels, cut heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution by over 6 billion metric tons, and provide $1.7 trillion in national fuel savings over the life of the program.
America’s fleet of cars and light trucks now consumes more than 360 million gallons of fuel per day and emits about 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. Under the new standards, we will reduce our oil consumption by an estimated 2.2 million barrels a day by 2025—more than our daily 2010 oil imports from the entire Persian Gulf.
The new standards will also put money back in consumers’ pockets. Based on the projected fuel savings from the proposal, owners could save more than $4,000 over the life of their new car or truck. Those fuel savings will offset higher vehicle costs in less than four years, and consumers who buy a vehicle with a typical five year loan will see immediate savings of about $12 a month.
The proposal already has broad support from such widespread groups as auto manufacturers, United Auto Workers, small businesses, American consumers, veterans and military groups, economists, and environmental advocates—including EDF.
For more information, click here.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Today, cars and trucks are nearly everywhere. In the U.S., there are more automobiles than there are licensed drivers to drive them.
Altogether, the planet is home to more than a billion vehicles of all sorts, and experts predict that by 2020 there will be more than two billion, of which half will be automobiles.
Smog, carbon pollution and oil dependence
These cars and trucks, as helpful as they are in moving people and cargo, also create a range of environmental challenges. In the U.S., on-road vehicles contribute about a third of the country’s smog-producing air pollution. The transportation sector is responsible for approximately 27 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions.
It is also a leading cause of America’s dependence on oil and consumes about 70 percent of the oil we use in this country. More than half of that is consumed by cars and trucks.
Threat to water and wildlife
Vehicles also contribute to water pollution through the oil and other fluids they leak onto roadways—fluids that inevitably wash off into storm drains, rivers and bays.
The nearly 4 million miles of public streets and highways in this country have eaten into wildlife habitat, and where wildlife still exists, those roads create migration impediments and hazards.
One survey found 21 listed threatened species were under greatest threat from road impacts.
Our goal—to make engines cleaner and safer
Our challenge is to find solutions to make those cars and trucks and other vehicles less polluting, and the way we use them less damaging to the planet.
What will it take to cure our dangerous and unhealthy addiction to oil and reduce the threat of runaway global warming?
Stronger fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for American cars and trucks are essential—and your email right now to the Obama administration supporting their landmark new standards for cleaner cars and trucks can help us all take a huge step forward.
Public comments are due by Feb. 13. Take action today—stand up for better gas mileage, less oil and a safer climate future.
Thank you for your activism and support.
For more information, click here.