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The EPA's New Standards: Carbon Dioxide Per Mile

In case you missed the news, the EPA announced new emissions rules for cars yesterday. Here are the details: The rules are expected to cut...


In case you missed the news, the EPA announced new emissions rules for cars yesterday. Here are the details:
The rules are expected to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases about 30 percent from 2012 to 2016.Officials said the program would save the owner of an average 2016 car about $3,000 in fuel over the life of the vehicle and eliminate emissions of nearly a billion tons of greenhouse gases over the lives of all regulated vehicles.Reaching the new efficiency figure will add about $1,000 to the cost of the average new car by 2016, according to industry and government estimates.
But have a look at this. The standards are going to be set in terms of carbon dioxide per mile, not miles per gallon:
The new standards apply to new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles, covering model years 2012 through 2016. The EPA GHG standards require these vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emissions level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile in model year 2016, equivalent to 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) if the automotive industry were to meet this CO2 level all through fuel economy improvements.
This is a good change. Miles per gallon of gas generally corresponded to a car's cleanliness in the past, but we're entering a time when cars can have multiple energy inputs and aren't just exclusively powered by gas. This will be a better way for the EPA to measure the environmental impact of cars in a future where they use many different fuel sources.It won't do the whole job, of course. If you have a plug-in car, the environmental impact of operating the car depends a lot on whether you get your electricity from a coal plant or a wind farm. But it's a step in the right direction.Via Boing BoingImage: Pipe, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from possible248's photostream
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