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Friday, November 16, 2007

Court Rejects Weak Fuel Economy Regulations, We Want More

Let’s all thank the 9th Circuit court for stating the obvious. Thursday a three judge panel ruled that 23.5 mpg is not a high enough fuel economy standard for light trucks and SUVs. Why not? The court finally stated explicitly that standards must take greenhouse gas emissions into account. This is not an earth-shattering assertion, but it is progress.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can talk about a complete overhaul of fuel economy regulation. First of all, as long as there are different standards for cars and light trucks/SUVs, the numbers don’t mean a lot. Americans drive light trucks and SUVs as commuter cars, and the current legislation exempts vehicles like the 8,500-lb. Ford Excursion and 10,000-lb. H2. No matter how efficient our cars are, as long as these behemoths are driving alongside them, too much carbon is getting in to the air.

California’s proposed fuel efficiency standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles 30% by 2016, in line with the overall target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. They incorporate not only GHGs coming out the tailpipe but emissions over the lifetime of the vehicle – including those released during production, maintenance and scrapping.
We cannot afford to settle for band-aids. We need real global warming solutions for America, and we need them now.

1 comment:

WattHead said...

Nice post Alex. Thanks for covering this one. Glad to have you on the WattHead team!