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Archive for July 2011

54.5 MPG saves trillions of $ and addresses ocean carbon problem

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We’ve heard many times that the oceans are imperiled by increasing CO2 in the atmosphere from fossil fuel consumption, and how that CO2 is acidifying the waters of the world, making things like growing oysters increasingly difficult, but what those in the ocean community have been lacking is a solution – perhaps because we too often look to coastal and ocean areas for solutions to what are actually global problems.

Obama Administration Report: Driving Efficiency: Cutting Costs for Families at the Pump and Slashing Dependence on Oil

Obama Administration Report released July 29, 2011: Driving Efficiency: Cutting Costs for Families at the Pump and Slashing Dependence on Oil

To a seemingly increasing number of ocean problems (CO2, marine debris, excessive nutrient inputs) the problems, and many of the solutions, stem from land.  Today President Obama announced a solution to one of the causes of ocean stress – automobiles and their associated fuel consumption.


While the price of gas lately has been driving consumer choices in automobiles has shown an increased interest in more efficient vehicles, including hybrids, vehicle designs have not been moving fast enough based on consumer demand alone to cause a reaction by the auto manufactures to dramatically increase fuel efficiency on their own. Sometimes government needs to provide a nudge to get things moving quicker.  When is government interference justified? When the market isn’t providing signals that moves industry in a direction that is aligned with the national interest of the country, and SAFE standards have proven in the past that government has play an important, healthy role in providing a predictable playing field for the auto industry.

In a clear sign that the auto industry was on board with Administration plans to increase fuel economy, The President was joined by Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo  when President Obama today announced a historic agreement with thirteen major automakers to pursue the next phase in the Administration’s national vehicle program.

Fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025 – that’s nearly a doubling of the current fuel economy.

oysters on the half shell

If you love oysters - either to eat them or for their value in the ecosystem - today's fuel economy anouncement is good news for you

The connection to Oceans?  These programs will dramatically cut the oil we consume, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day.  And where there’s oil savings there is savings in carbon too – and according to the Administration report’s figures they will be cutting more than 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas over the life of the program – more than the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States last year.

If the EPA and NHTSA plans generate the savings they are projecting, American drivers will save $1.7 trillion dollars in fuel costs, and lessen the CO2 emissions that threaten ocean life down to the most basic part of the food chain.

So consider today a good say for the American pocket book and a good day for plankton, shellfish and the people who appreciate those creature, seafood, and oceans in general.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

Written by Will Nuckols

July 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm