Fueling our Future

By Bob Perciasepe, Acting Administrator

This month EPA took an important next step to ensure that the cars of the future are not only the most fuel efficient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective cars to hit America’s roads – but they’re also the healthiest.

The new tailpipe standards we proposed, which are currently out for public comment, will protect millions of Americans from breathing polluted, potentially harmful air. These standards for tailpipe emissions are called “Tier 3” and include a combination of lowering sulfur content in gasoline and enhancing emission controls in automobiles – a systematic approach that has proven successful in the past as an efficient and cost effective program. That, in turn, will lead to significant public health benefits: Our research indicates that, by 2030, Tier 3 standards would annually prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths, 23,000 cases of respiratory symptoms in children, and 1.8 million sick days home from work or school.

Tier 3 tailpipe emission standards are designed to work in concert with vehicle fuel economy and green house gas standards the Obama Administration finalized last summer. When fully implemented, this comprehensive approach will save thousands of lives and protect the health of millions – all while strengthening our energy security, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and saving drivers money at the pump.  Reducing our dependence on oil, and foreign oil in particular, is an important part of the all-of-the-above approach to energy President Obama has long championed. So, even as we are increasing the amount of oil produced on our shores annually, we are also working to ensure the cars Americans will be driving are far more fuel efficient.  The fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards finalized last summer will phase in each year and ultimately double the fuel economy of motor vehicles by 2025, cutting oil consumption by 12 billion barrels in the process. Less oil consumed means substantially less greenhouse gas pollution, a leading driver of climate change. It also means fewer dollars spent filling up gas tanks – an estimated 1.7 trillion fewer dollars in total. Much has been made of the small – less than a penny – estimated increase in the cost of gasoline from Tier 3, but when you look at the full program and improved fuel economy and the tremendous savings of using half the gasoline for the same drive, consumers win – big time.

Much like the standards from last summer, the proposed Tier 3 tailpipe emission standards are already seeing widespread support from the auto industry. Clear, national standards allow manufacturers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states. They also give automakers the market confidence they need to invest in the cleaner, more efficient technologies of the future. That’s why Gloria Berquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, this month called Tier 3 “a positive step forward,” explaining that the industry has wanted a “road map” to simplify regulations nationwide. When coupled with the fuel economy standards, these comprehensive approach fuel and tailpipe standards will provide the clear signal for increased investment and jobs in the automobile industry.

State and local officials support Tier 3 tailpipe standards, too. Stronger emissions standards make it easier for local governments to meet their Clean Air Act responsibilities and ensure residents are able to enjoy the clean, healthier air they expect and deserve.

Cleaner air rarely comes for free, but we often find that costs are dwarfed by the benefits clean air provides. This case is no exception. By 2030, EPA estimates that the monetized health benefits of the proposed Tier 3 tailpipe standards would be somewhere between $8 and $23 billion each year. That’s up to $7 in health benefits for every $1 invested in meeting the new standards. When combined with the thousands of dollars every driver will save at the pump thanks to last summer’s updated fuel economy standards, American drivers will be paying a lot less for gasoline over the next decade.

That is the beauty of the comprehensive approach now made possible by the proposed Tier 3 tailpipe standards: significant air pollution reductions with up to $23 billion in health benefits and modern fuels for modern automobile technology that is creating investment and jobs, doubling fuel economy, cutting gasoline bills in half on average and reducing green house gases.

For more than four years, this administration has worked to ensure the next generation of vehicles will offer all of the choices drivers have today. But those vehicles will also be more technologically advanced than ever before. They will be more efficient and much cheaper to power. And they will leave our communities cleaner and healthier than they have been in decades.

About the author: Bob Perciasepe is acting administrator of the U.S. EPA.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Reducing Emissions Can Be Habit Forming

By Karen Dante

Every day, there are dozens of things we do without even thinking. When we wake up, we brush our teeth. Before we eat, we wash our hands. When we leave home, we lock the door. These habits, like fastening our seatbelts or looking both ways before we cross the street, keep us healthier and safer.

It’s not such a big step to build similar habits that reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. There are lots of simple habits you can acquire to reduce emissions and protect the climate. If everyone does their part, small simple steps add up to big changes.

Here are some easy ways to incorporate habits to protect the climate –

  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
  • Check your tire pressure regularly.
  • Recycle bottles, instead of throwing them out.
  • Print double sided, instead of single sided.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
  • When a light burns out, replace it with an ENERGY STAR light.
  • Get in the habit of unplugging electronics not in use. Consumer electronics account for 15% of household electricity.
  • Give your car a break. Bike, walk, carpool or take public transportation. This action not only reduces your carbon footprint, but also promotes an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • Turn your thermostat a few degrees cooler in the winter, and warmer in the summer.
  • Calculate your household’s carbon footprint and learn ways to reduce emissions, energy use and waste disposal costs.

Other easy things to do that can be slightly bigger investments –

  • Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying appliances/ office equipment. The typical household spends more than $2,100 a year on energy bills. With ENERGY STAR, you can save over one-third or more than $700 on your household energy bills.

If you keep following the simple steps, you can make reducing climate change a daily habit – as easy as brushing your teeth!

Click here to learn more about other ways to protect the climate, reduce air pollution and save money.

About the author: Karen Dante is an ORISE Fellow supporting the communications team in the Climate Change Division within the Office of Air and Radiation. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in biology and psychology from Queen’s University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy at John’s Hopkins University.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Informed Decisions Make Car Buying Greener

By Lina Younes

Not long ago, I was in the market for a new car.  As with any major purchase, I decided to do some research. I had three requirements for this new vehicle. I wanted it to meet the highest safety standards. I wanted it to get good mileage and not to break the bank in the process. At the time, I consulted some valuable resources online: www.safercar.gov, www.fueleconomy.gov , and EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide . In sum, I was successful in getting a fuel efficient car for my daughter.

Just this past week, EPA proposed new labels for fuel efficiency which will help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing a new vehicle. The proposed labels will appear on the window stickers on new vehicles on sale at dealerships around the country. These new labels are an improved design over the EPA label which has appeared on new vehicles for the past thirty years. They help consumers to compare the vehicles with similar vehicles in their class. These labels help consumers to compare vehicles not only for fuel efficiency, but for their environmental impact as well. What I found most interesting is that the proposed labels are equipped with a barcode used by many Smartphones which will allow consumers to access a web page with the fuel efficiency info for that vehicle. What’s really cool is that consumers at the dealership can input their personalized estimates based on their own driving habits and fuel costs. They will have better information at the time of purchasing the vehicle and they will be in a better position to compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges, or so they say. A lot of what I was searching originally on the Web, will now be available in these new window stickers.

We are encouraging consumers to visit our website and compare proposed Label 1 and propose Label 2.  We want to hear from YOU! We are accepting comments in English and in Spanish. To submit comments as part of the rulemaking process, please send your emails to newlabels@epa.gov

We really want to hear from you! With your input, we can all help the American consumer to make the best decision regarding the environment and their personal transportation needs.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.


Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

EPA Wants Your Input

In the EPA Office of Air, my staff and I spend a lot of time working toward practical solutions that improve the quality of the air we breathe and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. This includes providing you with the information you need to make decisions that help with this effort — decisions like what kind of car to buy.

That’s why we, along with the Department of Transportation, are asking you what information you need to make better informed economic and environmental decisions when buying a new car. We’ve proposed changes to the fuel economy labels you see on the window of every new vehicle in dealer showrooms.

New technologies, such as battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, are becoming more widely available in the American market. The new labels are designed to provide car buyers with simple, straightforward energy and environmental information for all types of vehicles, including conventional gas-powered vehicles.

For more information, and to find out how you can view the proposed changes and offer your feedback, see the news release.

About the author: Gina McCarthy is Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and has been a leading advocate for comprehensive strategies to confront climate change and strengthen our green economy.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.