America’s on-the-road cars, light-duty trucks cleaner

Hydrogen_station_pump[1]The divide between the number of cars and trucks with reduced or no emissions available and the number of cars and trucks with reduced or no emissions actually on American roads, appears to be narrowing. Not only this, but, greater is average internal-combustion-engine-vehicle-fuel-economy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a Dec. 12, 2013 news release announced: “Today, EPA issued its annual report that tracks the average fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States. The report shows that model year 2012 vehicles achieved an all-time high fuel economy of 23.6 miles per gallon (mpg). This represents a 1.2 mpg increase over the previous year, making it the second largest annual increase in the last 30 years. Fuel economy has now increased in seven of the last eight years.”

There is no question average vehicle fuel economy of cars and light-duty trucks on America’s roads, is improving.

“Fuel economy will continue to improve under the Obama administration’s historic National Clean Car Program standards,” the EPA offered. “The program doubles fuel economy standards by 2025 and cuts vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by half. The standards will save American families $1.7 trillion dollars [sic] in fuel costs, and by 2025 will result in an average fuel savings of more than $8,000 per vehicle. The program will also save 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 will reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day – as much as half of the oil imported from OPEC every day.”

In monetary terms, that’s a greater savings in fuel resulting in increased mpg, reduced engine emissions and cleaner air. So, what’s not to like?!

News like this seems especially important since, after a decline beginning in 2004 and lasting all the way till 2011, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on U.S. roads experienced a slight uptick in 2012.

According to Federal Highway Administration data as reported on in: “Amtrak ridership up + road miles heads south = clearer skies ahead,” I wrote: “By the numbers … in 1987 and 2007, American vehicle miles traveled were roughly 1.924 trillion and 3.031 trillion, respectively. Contrarily, between the latter year and 2011, miles driven dropped to approximately 2.929 trillion with a slight increase to nearly 2.939 trillion in 2012, a 0.3 percent increase that can be attributed to population growth ….”

Meanwhile, the EPA’s annual report titled: “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2013,” credits “rapid adoption of more efficient technologies such as gasoline direct injection engines, turbochargers, and advanced transmissions” to “much of the recent improvement.”

– Alan Kandel