Obama Talks Tough On Car Emissions
The USA is committed to reducing greenhouse gas levels by over 16% on 2005 emissions figures by 2020. With the announcement of new proposals for the automotive industries, set to regulate emissions from motoring much more strictly, we could be one step closer to achieving this target.
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The Environmental Protection Agency has said the new standards for car manufacturers proposed by President Obama’s administration could lead to dramatically less emissions. The EPA’s Bob Perciasepe, acting administrator, said the proposals will “reinvigorate the auto industry” while ensuring “the cars of tomorrow are cleaner, more efficient and saving drivers money at the pump”.
The new rules have been put forward in an attempt to meet emissions targets to reduce air pollution, towards achieving global environmental benchmarks. The EPA are heralding the proposals as a major environmental breakthrough, with the potential for a profound impact on vehicle emissions for the next generation.
Car manufacturers will be required to meet more stringent exhaust tailpipe standards for emissions levels, while gasoline refiners will be expected to enforce at 60% reduction in the amount of sulfur in their fuel.
The move is expected to require a degree of investment from manufacturers and refiners to meet their new production requirements, and has been resisted by those representing industry groups.
Aside from proposed benefits to the environment, those in favor of reducing sulfur levels in gasoline say it lessens the health impact of smog and pollution on humans. The double effect of measures to tackle gasoline and car manufacturers respectively is designed to have a considerable impact on the environmental footprint of motoring.
Alongside other steps to reduce greenhouse gas output, these proposals link with the EPA’s strategy to meet global emissions reduction targets by 2020.
However, opponents of the measures have said that they will contribute to the cost of motoring for consumers and businesses alike, with gas and vehicle prices both likely to increase as a result. Some analysts have suggested the plans could account for as much as 10 cents in the gallon. That will no doubt create strong opinion on both sides.
Car auction site www.autobidmaster.com says that while steps to control emissions on new cars were a move in the right direction, the additional costs for motorists and the impact of second hand cars could undermine the vision.
“With costs set to skyrocket for both vehicles and gasoline, these proposals could hit ordinary people hard. With millions of second hand vehicles on sale nationwide every month, the environmental impact of these changes will take a while to filter through while road users will be made to pick up the tab.”
The proposals were brought forward previously, only to be shelved ahead of the President’s re-election in case of pushback. Most analysts are now greeting the news as a positive step towards meeting international emissions obligations – even with the additional expenses for motorists factored in.
The proposals will be opened to a public consultation before being implemented for the next generation of new cars. While the measures can do very little to clean up the tens of millions of used cars sold every year, over time the effect will be cheaper, more efficient and ultimately more environmentally friendly driving.