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Transportation Related CO2 - Are we just kidding ourselves?

Last May, automakers joined President Obama, federal agencies, governors and environmental leaders to announce a commitment to establish a U.S. National Program that will reduce carbon emissions and increase fuel economy. Since then we have seen commitments by many of the major automakers in areas of electric and hybrid vehicles but developing new technology is both expensive and time consuming. It may be 5 to 10 years before we start to see any significant numbers of low CO2 emitting vehicles on the road in North America .Will this be enough to curb global CO2 levels?

 Battery electric vehicles and plug-ins are only as green as the electricity from which they get their charge and with roughly 70% of all electrical generation coming from coal in the US it is obvious that significant change is needed. Are automakers, governments and power producers really doing enough to make a difference to the global CO2 picture or are we just kidding ourselves?

Ask yourself 

 ”does global climate change and energy security mean enough to you and your family to change your energy usage habits or purchase what might be a more expensive green automobile?”

“For seven long years, there was a debate over whether states or the federal government should regulate autos. President Obama‚Äôs announcement in May ended that old debate by starting a federal rulemaking to set a National Program,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “Automakers are now participating in the joint rulemaking underway by EPA and NHTSA.”

A National Program is a priority to automakers because a national fuel economy program allows manufacturers to average sales nationwide, so customers in all 50 states can continue to buy the types of vehicles they need for family, business and leisure. A National Program also avoids conflicting standards from different regulatory agencies, and it gives automakers much needed certainty for long-term product planning. In addition, a National Program delivers overall greenhouse gas reductions equal to or better than those that would be realized under separate programs by different regulatory bodies.

Autos represent 17% of all man-made CO2 in the U.S, according to EPA. Carbon dioxide is created when any fossil fuel burns, whether it is a car burning gasoline or a backyard grill burning charcoal. Therefore, to reduce CO2, automobiles will need to burn less fuel. That means automakers will need to sell fuel-efficient technologies that will produce less CO2.

“All industries will be called upon to reduce carbon emissions,” said McCurdy. “Automakers play an important role. Automakers are selling nearly 200 models of automobiles that achieve 30 mpg or greater on the highway. Consumers can now test drive 47 models of hybrids or clean diesel in dealer showrooms. More technology is on its way to market. We will need to use every engineer we have and every investment dollar available to make our vision of sustainable mobility a reality. And, we are going to need Americans to buy our clean, fuel-efficient autos in large numbers in order to meet this climate change commitment.”

Collectively ,global automakers launched a new website called http://www.DrivingSustainability.com to focus on the need for an integrated, economy-wide approach to CO2 reductions.


The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 11 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen Group.

For more information, visit the Alliance website at http://www.autoalliance.org.

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