US Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (both R-ME) have introduced a measure (S.1073) that would require automakers to reduce new vehicle greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2002 levels by 2016. This would nationalize California’s motor vehicle greenhouse gas reduction standard. The EPA would be required to tighten the reductions every five years.
The bill also requires fuel suppliers to increase the percentage of low-carbon fuels—biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol E85, hydrogen, electricity, and others—in the motor vehicle fuel supply by 2015. This would reduce emissions from motor vehicle fuels by 10% below projected levels by 2030.
It’s clear that if we are serious about addressing the global warming challenge, reducing emissions from the use of motor vehicles must be a top priority. With more than 240 million vehicles on the road, this one sector alone produces 32% of all US greenhouse gas emissions. So, this legislation would slash emissions from this sector by 22% below anticipated levels by 2030.—Senator Feinstein
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his support for this legislation and urged members of Congress to pass the legislation immediately. Earlier this year, Schwarzenegger ordered a Low Carbon Fuel Standard bill to require fuel producers in California to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases on a full lifecycle basis by 10% by 2020. (Earlier post.)
Other components of the bill include:
By 2009, EPA must quantify the total emissions of each fuel, including emissions created during production, transportation, and end-use (or the lifecycle of a fuel).
EPA to develop a fuel labeling process to provide this information to consumers at the pump.
By 2015, require oil refiners and importers to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the entire motor vehicle fuel pool by 3% below 2007 levels. Each five years thereafter, fuel providers would have to reduce emissions of the motor vehicle fuel pool by another 3% below the current level in that year.
Establish a carbon-credit trading program to help fuel providers meet the emissions reduction target levels.
Require automakers to optimize vehicles that run on gasoline and low-carbon fuels to achieve better fuel economy when powered by low-carbon fuels. Currently, these vehicles are optimized to run on traditional gasoline.
Require automakers to use a green fuel cap for all vehicles powered by low-carbon fuels. This would alert consumers that these vehicles can use low-carbon fuels.
Senator Feinstein has also introduced legislation for a national cap-and trade program for the electricity sector (S.317); and increasing the fuel economy for cars, trucks and SUVs by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years (S.357). Two other bills, a national cap-and-trade program for the industrial sector and a national energy efficiency program are in progress.