Fighting Climate Change

I have a tendency to get jaded about marches, demonstrations, and pledges. After the excitement of the moment dies down, I don’t see actual implementation of what was pledged. We once had mileage ratings posted when a new car was advertised; no longer. And as issues evolve from “hot” to passe or forgotten, the reasons for the initial uproar tend to go unsolved.

The problem with climate change is: this problem confronts our very ability to enjoy a life on planet Earth. Here’s one effort that I hope helps.


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Biden Admin Tightens Vehicle Mileage Standards

in Effort to Bolster EVs and Fight Climate Change


By: Cristen Hemingway Jaynes


June 10, 2024


The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has tightened fuel mileage standards for vehicles in an effort to transform the country’s auto market into one dominated by more climate-friendly electric vehicles.

The new standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will lower fuel costs by more than $23 billion while reducing pollution, a press release from USDOT said. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in the press release …


“Not only will these new standards save

Americans money at the pump every time

they fill up, they will also decrease harm-

ful pollution and make America less reliant

on foreign oil. These standards will save

car owners more than $600 in gasoline

costs over the lifetime of their vehicle.”


The new standards will save nearly 70 billion gallons of gas through 2050 and prevent more than 782.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by mid-century.

Sophie Shulman, NHTSA deputy administrator, said in the press release …


“When Congress established the Corp-

orate Average Fuel Economy program

in the 1970s, the average vehicle got

about 13 miles to the gallon. Under

these new standards, the average light-

duty vehicle will achieve nearly four

times that at 50 miles per gallon.”


The final rule will increase fuel economy by two percent annually for passenger cars with model years 2027 to 2031 and light trucks with model years 2029 to 2031. This will mean that by model year 2031, the average light-duty vehicle will get roughly 50.4 miles per gallon.

The new rules are not as strict as last year’s USDOT draft rules, which would have required that automakers make passenger cars with an average 66.4 miles per gallon and light trucks with a standard 54.4 miles per gallon before 2032, reported The New York Times. The proposal was weakened following lobbying from automakers.

Under the new final rule, van and heavy-duty pickup truck fuel efficiency will go up by 10 percent each year for vehicles with model years 2030 to 2032, while model years 2033 to 2035 will increase by eight percent annually. This will mean an average of roughly 35 miles per gallon fleetwide by model year 2035, resulting in a savings of more than $700 in gasoline costs for van and heavy-duty pickup owners.

National climate advisor Ali Zaidi said in the press release …


“President Biden’s economic and climate agen-

da has catalyzed an American clean energy

and manufacturing boom. On factory floors

across the nation, our autoworkers are

making cars and trucks that give American

drivers more choices today than ever before.


“These fuel economy standards, rigorously aligned

with our investments and standards across the

federal government, deliver on the Biden-Harris

Administration’s promise to build on this momen-

tum and continue to spur job creation, and move

faster and faster to tackle the climate crisis.”


NHTSA consulted with unions, consumers, environmental advocates, states, automakers and other stakeholders in the process of crafting the final rule.

The new rule sets standards consistent with the direction of Congress regarding the conservation of fuel and promotion of the country’s automotive manufacturing and energy independence, while at the same time giving the automotive industry flexibility on how to reach those goals.


“Though NHTSA does not consider electric

and other alternative fuels when setting

standards, manufacturers may use all

available technologies – including advanced

internal combustion engines, hybrid techno-

logies and electric vehicles – for compliance,”


… the press release said. The updated fuel economy standards set by NHTSA complement similar vehicle fleet emissions standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). NHTSA worked with the EPA to improve its standards while minimizing the costs of compliance, consistent with relevant statutory factors. Shulman said …


“These new fuel economy standards

will save our nation billions of dollars,

help reduce our dependence on fossil

fuels, and make our air cleaner for

everyone. Americans will enjoy the be-

nefits of this rule for decades to come.”


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Well … the report does seem to announce action intended to help deter climate change. However, the “Doubting Thomas” in my head wonders of these new rules – which only apply after a few years – will be enforced by whatever administration is happens to be leading our government then. And, while I think Pres. Biden has been doing a good job, part of me wonders if these new rules are truly part of an effort to increase Sustainable Living, or just part of a reelection campaign.

I’d like to see more efforts to help us transition to e-cars; they emit no exhaust whatever and cost a lot less to operate. With my solar panels, I’ve been driving with no daily cost for ten years, and an annual maintenance fee of about $223, to check the battery, tires, etc. Adding D’s comments …


“We don’t really care why changes are being put forward, if it helps the Earth. 

“The changes are a beautiful step toward sustainable Living. 

“One of the difficult parts of shifting towards Sustainable Living is knowing where to start. And when we say: “Start anywhere,” it is too broad. The two largest possessions that most individuals have are a car and a place to live. Therefore, in our thinking those are the two places to begin your journey toward Sustainable Living. So … when you replace a car, look for a vehicle that is either fully electric or hybrid plug-in. The second thing to look for is a home that conserves energy. 

“Stuart has written many articles on what is most important. One that does not waste energy is incredibly important. Begin with the car and then work towards your home. And let us know what questions you have.”


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