Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By Kate Hinds
A federal appeals court Tuesday said the Environmental Protection Agency was "unambiguously correct" in using existing federal law to limit greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
Several industry groups -- as well as the state of Texas -- had argued that the science behind climate change was uncertain, and that the EPA lacked the legal authority to use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from factories, power plants, and automobile tailpipes.
But the court unanimously rejected that view. "This is how science works," the judges wrote in the 82-page decision (pdf). "EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question."
The opinion cites not only a previous Supreme Court ruling but also Schoolhouse Rock. (“As a generation of schoolchildren knows, 'by that time, it’s very unlikely that [a bill will] become a law. It’s not easy to become a law.'")
Read the decision here.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Despite high gas prices, the U.S. is set to become a net fuel exporter for the first time in 62 years. While the U.S. is still importing 8 to 9 million barrels of crude oil a day, it is exporting a greater amount of refined fuel and petroleum products. The spike in exports is primarily driven by an increased demand for fuel worldwide combined with declining consumption here at home. But is the nation's newfound role as fuel exporter a blip on the map or a sustainable trend?
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Many Americans appear determined to go on a vacation this summer despite their anxieties about the economy. But they will have to make an extra effort to find savings, with gas prices and air fares both higher than they were last year.
Friday, May 27, 2011
As memorial day approaches, Americans are topping off their gas tanks and getting ready for a long weekend away from home. But with gas prices creeping up across the country, American travel patterns are beginning to shift accordingly. For just over a week now, The Takeaway has been asking listeners to text us the price at their local pump. We’ve collated the information on an interactive map. In this conversation we discuss some of our findings with Andrea Bernstein, Director of the Transportation Nation project and senior correspondent for our flagship station WNYC.
Friday, October 01, 2010
(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) New diesel fuel economy standards are expected to be finalized within a week and some in the diesel industry are taking the occasion to remind us about the other way to reduce pollution, making engine technology cleaner with clean diesel. The new regulations are expected to require diesel engines to increase miles per gallon performance primarily for light trucks and heavy-duty vehicles, but regulating that category is no easy task.
In Europe, 50% of the cars on the road are diesel according to the Diesel Technology Forum. Here in the U.S though, diesel vehicles make up just 3% of of our vehicles, accounting for 10% of our nation's oil consumption, and 20% of the transit-related pollution. That's an environmental opportunity when you think of what a few extra miles-per-gallon would do with a bus or truck that travels over a million miles during its lifetime.
Its a complicated matter though to set fuel efficiency standards for heavy duty vehicles, a category that covers tractor trailers as well as construction vehicles like dump trucks. The fuel is consumed in many different ways, it could be used making cross country highway trips or in operating equipment on the truck while stationary like a cement mixer. Some vehicles go 100,000 miles a year, others may not travel more than a few hundred, like a fire truck. Some argue per-mile efficiency may not be the best metric for reducing diesel consumption and pollution across the board. The NYT has a nice explanation of this and other regulatory puzzles that explain some of the delay in targeting this class of transit polluter.
Mileage standards are certainly one way to reduce diesel pollution, but technology is another. In anticipation of the new regulations, clean diesel advocates at the Diesel Technology Forum pointed out a 52% rise in clean diesel vehicle sales over a year ago. No one expects clean diesel to rival hybrids for the mantle of greener cars, but it may well be a growth market and an eco-opportunity.
One recent study by the National Academy of Sciences estimates that we can cut fuel consumption in heavy-duty vehicles almost in half with the combination of new technologies and diesel fuel economy standards. That's likely the kind of hopeful case for change the Obama administration will make when they release the official standards.
Friday, August 13, 2010
It's was a wonderful piece of reporting this week in the Middle Seat column of the Wall Street Journal: a review of DOT data, yielding what amounts to an MPG rating for the airlines. Alaska came out on top, with a bit of luck (like being West Coast-based) and some good practices (like shutting down engines quickly at the gate). The worst guzzlers turn out to the three biggest U.S. carriers.
But here's the big question: would information like this -- that getting you from LAX to JFK sucks around 10 gallons more fuel on Delta than it does on JetBlue on average -- cause you to change who you buy your ticket from? Let us know in the comments.
Friday, April 02, 2010
The federal government announced its first ever mandatory limits for particular greenhouse gas emissions, as the EPA and the Department of Transportation announced new emissions rules for automobiles and light trucks yesterday.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Cash for Clunkers program heats up and people across America are trading in their gas guzzlers for new fuel efficient models. Adding fuel to the fire, General Motors announced yesterday that their electric car, the Chevy Volt, will get 230 miles per gallon during city driving. The car is expected to cost $40,000 and be on the market in November of next year. GM is calling it a "game changer," but is it too late for GM's game? Or could the Volt save GM and save the planet at the same time? We talk to Garry Golden, futurist and energy blogger, about fuel efficiency and the future of cars.
Here's how Chevy is selling its Volt:
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
For more on the transportation debate taking place across the country, listen to Miles O'Brien's interview, Traffic Jam: How to Reduce Congestion, on The Takeaway. Also, hear the lively debate on the fuel standards, California, Here We Come: New Fuel Standards.
—Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio on transportation reform
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
—Robert Farago of the blog The Truth About Cars on CAFE standards