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A Systems Approach for Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Photo by mocodragon.

While the fuel economy standards in the latest energy bill are a welcome first step, giving us some relief from stagnation in fuel economy from vehicle fleet, the California approach, which treats greenhouse gases as pollutants, and sets performance standards, is the right way to go for the longer term.

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, we need to get to a full systems approach, looking at fuels and vehicles as a system, and set up a regulatory approach that can keep steady downward pressure on allowable emissions from the fleet of vehicles on American roads.

The EPA’s decision to deny California the waiver to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes of passenger cars and trucks doesn’t bode well for the EPA’s own proposed rule making on the same issue.

Since the US EPA won’t lead, California – and the 17 other states that want to join it – will. And with past as prologue, the courts are likely to support California. Then the EPA will follow and we’ll have a national emissions standard for greenhouse gas emissions, eventually.

It’s just too bad that the Bush Administration is going to force everything into the courts, before the inevitable occurs.

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  • The dozens of companies planning to sell highway-capable electric vehicles (EVs) in the next few years will provide the means to reduce air pollution by up to 40% (as in the US.) Even General Motors will sell an EV, albeit with a gas-burning range extender, in 2011. The Tesla “White Star” EV may be offered by then, as will the Mitsubishi iMiEV, possibly the Subaru G4e and probably more EVs from Obvio, Miles, Phoenix, Universal Electric Vehicles and ZAP.

    EVs will sell: they require almost no maintenance and cost three cents per mile to drive.