End Wars For Oil - Why & How to Promote Vehicle Efficiency

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A recent trip to Europe, or most anywhere else in the world, gives an American a chance to see a drastic difference in motor vehicles. SUVs are almost non-existant, families use what we call compact cars, and even pickup trucks and delivery vans are smaller. Every vehicle on the road is smaller and more efficient. There is no need to upsize to an SUV in an effort to protect oneself from a collision with another SUV. Average mileage is considerably higher, and legislation mandating clean diesel fuel encourages the use of these more efficient engines.

Our waste of limited energy resources for motor vehicles and other uses that support our lifestyles of excessive consumption is well known throughout the world. Perhaps this is not the chief cause of terrorism against Americans, but thumbing our noses at critics of this excess is certainly not helping our image. Auto lobbies have frozen the CAFE (Corporate Average Fleet Economy) standards for mileage. Early in 2002 our government ended an ambitious program to increase fleet mileage in the near future, and replaced it with a program to promote hydrogen fueled vehicles, which, due to lack of infrastructure, are at least 10 years away from widespread use. We've gone as far as going to war to protect our energy interests. An automotive industry that can produce a 50 miles per gallon Honda Civic can easily exceed the current CAFE standards, which require an average of 27.5 MPG (Miles Per Gallon) for cars and light trucks, and only 20.7 MPG for light trucks (including minivans, sport utility vehicles, and pickup trucks). After the SUV boom of the 90's, average fuel economy in the U.S. is worse in 2002 than it was a decade ago.

What can you do to help bring America in line with what's happening in the rest of the world?

Upgrade Your Own Vehicle

When it's time to replace your current vehicle, consider whether you really need that guzzling SUV, minivan, or pickup truck. Check out a hybrid Honda or Toyota, or one of the new generation of clean diesel powered cars. Show the American auto industry that there is still a demand for smaller, more efficient vehicles.

Support Legislation For Increased Mileage Standards

There are several bills and amendments in the House and Senate about ending the freeze on the CAFE standards. The automotive lobbies have succeeded in freezing the standards, with the claim that smaller, fuel efficient vehicles would be unsafe on the same roads as gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks. Improved fleet standards would make all vehicles smaller, eliminating that argument. Write to your legislators about amendments to Senate bill 1766, the Energy Policy Act of 2002. H.R. 1815 and S.804 is a bill to amend title 49, United States Code, for phased increases in standards for light trucks and automobiles, and for the Federal fleet of vehicles.

107th Congress - 2nd session (2002)

There are several pieces of legislation related to U.S. energy policy. I'm still working on sorting out what is what, and what is happening with each of them.

Promote The Clean Diesel Industry

Light-duty diesels use 30-60% less fuel than gasoline engines of similar power. Some of the most advanced models are attaining astonishing fuel efficiency, such as the European-market Audi A2 that achieves 87 mpg on the highway. Use of the latest diesel technology has nearly eliminated the noise and smoke that many Americans remember from early diesel cars. With the application of advanced technologies such as direct injection lean-burn combustion, particulate traps and catalytic converters, diesel vehicles are now a clean and quiet alternative to less efficient gasoline powered cars. A milestone in the continuous improvement of diesel technology was the introduction of low-sulfur diesel fuel in 1993 for on-highway vehicles. The new fuel has 5-7 times less sulfur than the fuel in use prior to 1993, (from 2500-3500 ppm sulfur to 500 ppm maximum). EPA has proposed setting more stringent quality requirements for diesel fuel. The Agency expects that the new standards would enable advanced catalyst technologies needed to achieve the most recently proposed "Tier 2" emission standards for lighter duty vehicles. Diesel fuel used for nonroad applications has sulfur levels of roughly 3300 ppm.

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Last edited on 11 November 2018 by Scott Shurr. Comments and questions: sshurr@gmail.com.