Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Car gas efficiency by Claire Chadney

Environmental Studies
PHS 100
Claire Chadney
Warner Pacific College
October 5, 2010

President Obama has tasked the US Department of transportation (DOT), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with reducing greenhouse gases and increasing vehicle fuel efficiency. In order to reach these goals a national program has been implemented that will require new car manufacturers to follow more stringent regulations.
This national program was created in an effort to cut down on fuel costs, improve our nation’s energy security by reducing our dependence on petroleum, and protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas pollution that lead to climate change. According to the EPA, climate change is the single greatest long-term global environment challenge. Currently, our cars, trucks, and SUV’s makes up 57% of US transportation petroleum use and almost 60 % of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emission (Environmental Protection Agency).
These tougher measures will apply to all passenger cars and trucks built in model years 2017 through 2025. The first phase of this process, however, is scheduled to begin in cars built as early as 2012. Goals for new cars produced by the year 2025 could require manufacturers to meet an industry standard of somewhere between 47 mpg and 62 mpg (The Associated Press).
Projections show that this should decrease carbon dioxide emissions 3 to 6 percent per mile. The initial estimated cost per vehicle is expected to be about $3500; however, owners are expected to recoup their investment in three to four years and save up to $7400 over a vehicle’s lifetime (The Associated Press).
According to the Environmental Defense Fund’s 2004 report, the United States carbon dioxide emissions from personal vehicles totaled 314 metric tons, which is enough carbon to circle the world twice. The average household with two mid-sized vehicles emits more than 20,000 pound of carbon dioxide a year. That adds up to ten tons of pollution adding to the layer of greenhouse gases (Environmental Defense Fund).
Our atmosphere has a natural supply of greenhouse gases. They capture heat and keep the surface of the Earth warm enough to live on. Without these gases the planet would be uninhabitable. Before the Industrial Revolution the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases was roughly in balance. When industry took off in the mid-1700’s the amount of greenhouse gases skyrocketed. These gases, which stay in the atmosphere anywhere from 50 years to several centuries, began to build a thick heating blanket that nature could not combat (Environmental Defense Fund).
Because of this effect, the Earth has heated up by about one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, and is has heated up more intensely over the past two decade. On the surface, this does not sound like such a big deal, but things come into better prospective when we realize that the difference between our world today and the last ice age was only nine degrees Fahrenheit (Environmental Defense Fund). Knowing that makes the facts a whole lot more serious. We all assumed that in order for our lives to change significantly, the temperature of the Earth must also change significantly.
I agree with the regulations put in place to better regulate our vehicles emissions. Not only do these regulations reduce our need to rely on Middle East oil to keep our cars running, but it also protects our homes and planet, so that there will be a planet for our children’s children.

Thomas, Ken, 62 mpg for new cars? It's the US target for 2025, The Associated Press,
EPA and DOT Announce Next Steps toward Tighter Tailpipe and Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Cars and Trucks/Move should save consumers money, reduce dependence on oil, October 1, 2010,
Tallying Greenhouse Gases from Cars, September 7, 2007, Environmental Defense Fund,
The Basics of Global Warming, Environmental Defense Fund, January 29, 2009,

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