Landmark Clean Cars Success
On Tuesday, August 28th, the Obama administration finalized the Environmental Protection Agency Fuel Economy Standards that will double the fuel economy of our cars and trucks to 54.5 MGPG by 2025—an enormous step to curb carbon pollution. National Wildlife Federation supporters, staff (including our “clean-car guy” Zoe Lipman), and partners have worked for years towards this success.
Over the past two years NWF supporters have sent over 47,000 messages to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the President in support making cars more efficient and advocating for cleaner cars to protect wildlife from global warming. Earlier this year in Detroit, NWF’s CEO Larry Schweiger and over 90 other partners spoke in support of the new standard.
Speaking Directly with Leaders at Michigan Event
The day after the strong fuel efficiency rule was finalized, I was able to hear first hand about the positive impacts of the new rule on the environment and how it will drive economic growth. White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Michigan U.S. Representative John Dingell, United Auto Workers Union Vice President Cindy Estrada, and the BlueGreen Alliance took part in a roundtable event at the University of Michigan where the next generation of engineers are coming up with newer, cleaner technology, minutes from the heart of the car industry.
Attending the event to speak with and hear directly from our leaders on this most recent step toward reducing carbon pollution was a great opportunity to show the strong support for addressing climate change.
Midwest Cities to Produce Cleaner Cars
I started hearing even more good news before I even arrived at the event. As I was driving, I heard coverage on the radio as I passed by the towns of several advanced fuel economy manufacturing centers: Marion, Dayton, and Toledo.
I smiled as I drove past the Toledo Assembly Plant that will produce the new Jeep, and was relieved that these new SUV’s are going to be immensely cleaner for our air and environment than the 1991 Jeep I used to own.
As the event drew to a close, someone asked, “What’s next?” Congressman Dingell summarized his answer this way: “Well, something my grandpa used to say, sometimes you’ve got to just shoot the first snake you see.”
In other words, while there are still many broader problems for our transportation industry to address—from a lack of rail infrastructure to building dangerous pipelines to transport dirty tar sands for oil—the time was right for the stronger set of fuel economy standards that reduce carbon pollution from cars to pave the way for the future.