Today is a good day. At the Auto Alliance, an association representing major automakers, we’re happy to hear the Obama administration’s announcement of a national program to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel efficiency.
In fact, over the past two years we’ve been meeting and working with environmental leaders to find just this kind of smart measure that meets our shared goals. The auto industry has been ahead of the curve when it comes to rolling out new technologies and collaborating with policymakers to help tackle climate change. We already offer 130 models that get at least 30 MPG, and 35 hybrid or clean diesel models. But since these products take many years to design, build and test before we bring them to consumers, what you see now is what we began working on years ago.
The products we’re already working on now go beyond solutions for gasoline, diesel and ethanol. Electric power is starting to arrive, and our researchers and technicians are looking into technologies that use no petroleum at all.
We know these investments are absolutely necessary, not just because of the new national standards, but because real progress is absolutely necessary to address the problems we all face. Greenwashing won’t cut it. Marketing won’t help us meet federal standards. The auto industry is willing to be held accountable. We have supported actual standards against which you can measure us – even aggressive C02 reduction standards, including the 2007 federal Energy Bill that raised fuel efficiency standards by 40 percent, the biggest increase in history.
What other industries support such aggressive emissions reductions and accountability?
For us this is a matter of staying viable and competitive. Autos currently account for about 17 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions, and we know we have to make this transition if we want to be a competitive part of a new low-carbon economy.
You can be a part of this transition, too. Right now, you can take immediate steps to cut your own emissions (and save money) with some of the tips we have provided at EcoDrivingUSA. You might be surprised at how much better you can do with a few simple changes. President Obama’s advice to keep your tires properly inflated is actually a very good start.
As for the other 83 percent of the nation’s GHG emissions, we hope the Obama administration will lead the way to at last bring other parts of the economy into a shared national effort to address our common problems. The EPA’s recent endangerment finding on GHG has demonstrated the importance of such a comprehensive solution.
After all, climate change is a global challenge. It cannot be solved piecemeal; a challenge of this magnitude requires a commitment to match. We’re all in this together, both the problem and the solution.
Today’s announcement will give us a challenging set of national standards. The auto industry can meet that challenge. We will do our part.