Thursday, May 21, 2009

What Do You Think About Auto Emissions?

“The cars of the near future will be lighter, more expensive and maybe smaller. Big engines will shrink. And more and more cars will be hybrids or diesel-powered vehicles like those common in Europe,” according to a May 20 Washington Post article. “…New fuel-efficiency and tailpipe-emissions standards unveiled yesterday at the White House will push automakers and motorists in a direction aimed at reducing U.S. oil dependence and the emissions of greenhouse gases…”

If these standards are enacted, they would go a long way toward the air quality and greenhouse gas mitigation goals I’ve been pursuing since I came to the Council six years ago. I understand others have different views on the subject. What do you think?


Marcelle said...

I think the new emissions regulations are a great step towards improving our environment! SUV's are expensive cars - and not safe for other drivers. Looking forward to a hybrid.

Anonymous said...

Thank God GM and Chrysler are going out of business! They are the ones, along with their Lobbyists and the lack of governmental oversight, who built the piggy, gas-hogging SUV's. Our next car will be a hybrid.

Mr Bethesda said...

We are the only country in the world with CAFE standards and yet we are the biggest gas hogs in the world. CAFE standards do very little to reduce consumption of gas. The fastest and most effective way to reduce gas consumption is to raise the cost of gasoline. Remember the summer of 2008 when prices went to $4 a gallon? Car dealers couldn't give away SUV's but were selling high mileage cars at a premium. As Jefferson said. "Trust the people."

Anonymous said...

Raise the gas tax!

Unless/until prices are consistently high enough, consumers won't change.

I'd rather pay a gas tax to the government, federal and local, for reinvestment in infrastructure, alternative technologies, to subsidize mass transit, etc, than pay a defacto tax to big oil and foreign suppliers.

The world didn't fall apart when gas hit $4/gallon, but we did not benefit from the extra costs.

Either start adding 5 or 10 cents a year to the tax, or set the tax to fluctuate so that the target price is fixed. If the actual cost is less, the tax is bigger to maintain the price (say $4). If the cost increases, the tax gets smaller. Adjust the price as needed.

JewelBarlow said...

We the people vote routinely with our checkbooks on our preferences. It is clear historically that a large majority of us prefer larger more robust vehicles given the prevailing cost of fuel. As noted by Mr. Bethesda above, $4.00 per gallon seems to be sufficient to change a lot of votes. I will continue to choose from among the larger vehicles because of the relative safety. Whether I will switch to hybrids or other newer drivetrains will depend strictly on how I see the economics working out. In other words, I will pay more for a hybrid only if the fuel savings is projected to be sufficient to cover the incremental cost. I will certainly take a look at the hybrid versions of GM SUVs.

My ideal vehicle would be a natural gas / electric hybrid that could also have batteries charged by direct connection to an electrical outlet and natural gas accessed through a home connection (ala Honda Civic NG) -- provided the incremental cost over gasoline/diesel vehicles is balanced by increased fuel efficiency.

I support an increased fuel tax with commensurate improvements in our transportation infrastructure. In my view, the gasoline tax should have been indexed as a percentage of per gallon cost at levels existing in the early 1980's. And we should do it now to raise money to better maintain our highways and bridges.

Anonymous said...

If all the cars on the road were more fuel efficient, they would all be lighter, and people who prefer SUVs for safety reasons could opt at least for smaller, lighter SUVs. I fully support stricter emission regulations AND a gas tax. There are serious negative externalities to using gasoline, a bit of tax will help to internalise these. In addition, there are many other things the county can do to decrease emissions from vehicles, such as: enforce the idling law, increase and subsidize bus transportation to encourage ridership and decrease congestion, and review maintenance programs of county bus and heavy vehicle fleet.

Anonymous said...

The estimated $1300 price tag for improved MPG & emissions is a small price to pay to reduce global warming, improve air quality, and ward off rising sea levels. It also makes the country more secure and less financially beholden to the Middle East - and it's far cheaper and much less deadly than going to war. It's easy to implement and is long overdue.

Anonymous said...

i think you are focused on the wrong problem. The county should focus on improving traffic not reducing car emissions. By 2050 everyone will be driving an electric car so there will not be an emissions problem. Let the federal government worry about emissions. Montgomery County needs to focus on roads, schools, police and fire. Isn't that enough to worry about giving the counties finacial condition.