In what is easily the best environmental action in a generation, this week, the Obama Administration announced new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for cars and light trucks (think minivans and sport utility vehicles). By 2025, these vehicles will be required to average 54.5 miles per gallon (MPG).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulates CAFE standards and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency measures vehicle fuel efficiency. An agreement in support of acceptable standards was made between the government, automakers and their unions, and environmental organizations.
The stage for these historic fuel economy standards was set by an energy law enacted in 2007 under President George W. Bush. Additionally, the 2009 federal bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler were tied to better fuel efficiency.
Fuel-efficient cars and trucks were the U.S. auto industry’s saving grace. It makes good sense on multiple levels to continue these efforts. For one, 570,000 new jobs can be created by 2030. Not to mention saving consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reducing U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels. This also translates to strengthening national security by lessening the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
What about fighting man-made global warming? The new standards will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025. This reduces emissions by 6 billion metric tons, which is more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States in 2010. We thank President Obama for his leadership on combating climate change, pollution prevention and national security.
Starting in 2017, the standards will be phased in over the course of eight years. New fuel-saving technology is projected to increase the cost of new car or light truck by $3,000 on average. This means consumers will pay a little more when they buy the vehicle, about $50 more a month over a five-year loan, but they’ll more than make up for it at the pump with expected gas savings per vehicle between $7,000 - $8,000. And that is good for the environment and our wallets.
Undeniably, the vehicle fuel-efficiency standards represent an unbeatable combination of protecting the environment and strengthening the economy. They’re also the nation's single largest effort to combat climate-altering greenhouse gases, but we can’t stop building our carbon-reduction portfolios now. Wonderful news like this should push us to continuing to find more ways to reduce our carbon footprint, as individuals and a nation. Now let’s go invest in some renewable energy projects!
As part of Carbonfund.org’s mission toward a ZeroCarbonTM world, our programs make it easy and affordable for any individual, business or organization to reduce and offset their climate impact and hasten the transition to a clean energy future. This focus on simplicity and affordability made it a natural to expand our partnership with CarbonFree® Business Partner Propel Fuels to create an at-the-gas-pump CarbonOffset program supporting clean air technology.
Last May, Carbonfund.org partnered with Propel Fuels, a retailer of renewable fuels that began offering consumers the ability to offset their driving emissions at the Clean Mobility Center in Fullerton, California any time they fill their gas tank. Customers may select the CarbonOffset option at the pump, and the funds will go towards Carbonfund.org’s clean air projects that spur technology developments to reduce carbon emissions.
Since CarbonOffset was launched in May, customers have chosen to contribute $1.00 per fill to fully offset the emissions from their fuel purchase more than 1,000 times. The two-month pilot has offset more than 160,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions at this single station, which is equivalent to taking 84 cars off the road in the same two-month time period. CarbonOffset contributions from the program’s first year of operation will help support Carbonfund.org’s Truck Stop Electrification project, which improves air quality around truck stops and surrounding communities and offers drivers, employees and residents a cleaner and quieter environment with fewer harmful air pollutants.
"The early success of Propel's CarbonOffset program is strong evidence that consumers are ready and willing to support clean energy, especially if the cost and benefits are clear," said Eric Carlson, President of Carbonfund.org. "Thanks to Propel, thousands of drivers can vote with their dollars to support clean energy and domestic, renewable fuels."
If the CarbonOffset program continues at its current rate of participation, the program has the potential to offset more than 5 million pounds of carbon emissions over the next five years at this station alone, making a measurable contribution to emission reductions and a cleaner environment. Carbonfund.org is proud to partner in this ground-breaking program and to facilitate a simple and cost-effective method for vehicle emissions offsetting through supporting clean air technology.