Obama takes next step in fuel efficiency drive
February 18th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
5 months ago

Obama takes next step in fuel efficiency drive

Updated 2:10 p.m. ET, 2/18/2014

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama took the next step on Tuesday in his administration's effort to cut emissions and reduce oil use through better fuel economy on the nation's highways.

Speaking at a Safeway distribution center in Maryland, Obama instructed environmental and transportation agencies to get to work on the next round of gas mileage requirements for big trucks.

"Five years ago, we set out to break our dependence on foreign oil," Obama said. "Today, America is closer to energy independence and we have been in decades.

"For the first time in nearly 20 years, America produces more oil here at home than we buy from other countries. Our levels of dangerous carbon pollution, that contributes to climate change, have actually gone down even as our production has gone up," he said.

Obama's plan builds on a 2011 regulation that set the first-ever fuel standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014-18. It aims to save some 530 million barrels of oil and cut emissions by roughly 270 million metric tons.

Now, the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency - as planned - must develop the next phase of targets for those vehicles for post-2018 model years.

Obama wants them in place by March 2015.

"What we were clear about what was, if you set a rule, a clear goal, we would give our companies the certainty that they needed to innovate and out-build the rest of the world," he said. "They could figure out if they had a goal that they were trying to reach, and thanks to their ingenuity and our work, we're going to meet that goal."

The effort does not require congressional approval.

Obama has facilitated aggressive increases in auto and truck fuel efficiency since taking office. Industry in most cases has responded with cleaner-burning engines, lighter and more aerodynamic designs and models that appeal to consumers hungry for fuel savings.

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised the latest announcement.

"Strong heavy truck efficiency standards will not only cut carbon pollution that fuels climate change, but also save consumers money every time they go to a store and save truckers money at the pump," Beinecke said.

Trucking industry leaders supported the latest proposal as well.

Congressional Republicans called the announcement old news, and urged Obama to join them in working on legislation that would create jobs.

"Surely in the past 20 days, the President could have found time to pick up his pen and respond to Congress," said Rory Cooper, communications director for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. "It's abundantly clear that President Obama is not interested in working with Congress to solve the problems facing working middle class families."

In his State of the Union address, Obama promised that 2014 would be a "Year of Action" and he would take steps through executive action in various policy areas that do not need congressional backing.

In Maryland, he touted actions he's taken since that speech in January, including raising the minimum wage for federal contractors, ordering a review of job training programs and creating a new way for low-wage workers to save for retirement.

Heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks, buses and vans, rank behind cars in the production of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, according to the Transportation Department.

Obama chose to make the latest announcement at Safeway because the company "has been a leader in improving trucking efficiency," a White House official said, adding that it has invested in "cleaner" technologies, improved aerodynamics, more efficient tires and larger capacity trailers.

soundoff (343 Responses)
  1. Reticuli

    Anyone aware of any information that would confirm that President Obama has indeed been briefed, informed, or had the subject brought up to him in any way concerning a flex fuel mandate?

    I'm talking about current model year cars’ engines already being designed to be capable of running ethanol, methanol, gasoline, and several other synthetic fuels and alcohols, but having the features deactivated (inside the USA) within the fuel injection firmware and having more expensive non-methanol-resistant seals/tubes installed to prevent fuel choice.

    A demand-side mandate would not utilize tax payer money and would be an insignificant cost added to the cars... less in some cases.

    Many car companies are partially owned (in stakes) by Arab sheiks and OPEC countries.

    Intentionally or not, the Auto Bailout also switched GM's management, which had previously voluntarily pledged to move to flex, to instead former Exxon and Carlyle Group execs who reneged on this plan.

    This simple mandate would do more to improve the US economy - including the job market, the economic prospects of poor people around the world currently being preyed on by Islamists, the environment, and our national security than anything else the President and Congress could do right now.

    I’ve talked to people involved in the car industry, in methanol algae science for the U.S. Air Force, economists, business people, and college professors who don’t know about this and are baffled by how they’ve never heard of it before. I’ve got books, articles, hours of YouTube videos, and even CSPAN coverage, and yet most politicians and the general public are oblivious to it.

    February 18, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. tom l

    "So, when the President delays part of it, those same forces go crazy, instead of applauding the president for doing what they wanted just a few short months ago."

    ====

    Chicken or the egg, eh Rudy? Wasn't it the repubs that just wanted to delay and Obama was the one that refused? I guess it's all based on that "lens", right Rudy?

    February 18, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    One more time. Fuel tax is a consumption tax. The less that's consumed, the less tax collected. An decrease in the amount consumed (READ – better efficiency) results in a decrease in tax collected. In order for the amount collected to remain constant, a corresponding increase in taxation rate must occur. You're arguing against mathematics – an arguement you lose every time.
    -------------------------
    Your math is fine. Sure, your numbers are correct. Sorry, that does not mean your spin is correct, too.

    It's the flawed conclusions and ideological spin that you draw from a set of false assumptions that's the problem. Your entire point is a straw man argument. Your conclusions are not supported by your math because it ignres the real world. Besides, you're argument contradicts one of your favorite former talking points, the price of oil. If the price of oil drops, then that decreases revenue, too. You used to be all for a lower price of oil. Has that suddenly changed? I don't think so, and neither has your ideology. You just bounce from one hypocrisy to the next. I'm just the messenger.

    February 18, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    tom l

    "So, when the President delays part of it, those same forces go crazy, instead of applauding the president for doing what they wanted just a few short months ago."

    ====

    Chicken or the egg, eh Rudy? Wasn't it the repubs that just wanted to delay and Obama was the one that refused? I guess it's all based on that "lens", right Rudy?
    -------
    Not sure if you've read his foolishness du jour on this thread. The deeper he gets in, the deeper he digs.

    February 18, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. Chris-E...al

    What are all these independant truck owners going to do go Borrow 40000 bucks upgrade ?or go to work for big union companies that donates to the dims ? 0h 0bama he thinks he is so sly . Still trying 2 scare tactics with climate change . dims just lost alot of votes . americans ar n0t that ignorant ! thx mr prez

    February 18, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. Me

    The Real Tom Paine

    -Tommy G

    rs
    Well, first of all the price of fuel is actually artificially low.
    -–

    Interesting, do tell more. Why are prices artificially low? What price should Obama and the Democrats try to drive them up to?
    *****************
    Well, since you already had the answer worked out in that teeny-tiny intellect of yours
    ________________
    And here is the only thing liberals (especially the "gang" of liberal posters on here) are good at, insulting everyone that does not agree with them!

    February 18, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    One more time. Fuel tax is a consumption tax. The less that's consumed, the less tax collected. An decrease in the amount consumed (READ – better efficiency) results in a decrease in tax collected. In order for the amount collected to remain constant, a corresponding increase in taxation rate must occur. You're arguing against mathematics – an arguement you lose every time.
    ---------
    Your math is fine. Sure, your numbers are correct. Sorry, that does not mean your spin is correct, too.

    It's the flawed conclusions and ideological spin that you draw from a set of false assumptions that's the problem. Your entire point is a straw man argument. Your conclusions are not supported by your math because it ignres the real world. Besides, you're argument contradicts one of your favorite former talking points, the price of oil. If the price of oil drops, then that decreases revenue, too. You used to be all for a lower price of oil. Has that suddenly changed? I don't think so, and neither has your ideology. You just bounce from one hypocrisy to the next. I'm just the messenger.
    -------–
    What in the name of all things holy does the price of oil have to do with ANYTHING being discussed???? Fuel tax is a PER GALLON tax. Whether oil costs $10 per barrel or $100 per barrel, the amount of fuel tax in the resultant refined product is going to be the same. Now I know you'll argue, so let's go through it, OK? 1 barrel oil = 40 gallons fuel. 40 gallons times 10 cents per gallon is $4.00. NO MATTER THE PRICE OF A BARREL OF OIL.

    Rudy. Just quit. Really.

    February 18, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    February 18, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |

    tom l

    "So, when the President delays part of it, those same forces go crazy, instead of applauding the president for doing what they wanted just a few short months ago."

    ====

    Chicken or the egg, eh Rudy? Wasn't it the repubs that just wanted to delay and Obama was the one that refused? I guess it's all based on that "lens", right Rudy?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Wasn't that precisely what Rudy said?

    February 18, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Not sure if you've read his foolishness du jour on this thread. The deeper he gets in, the deeper he digs.
    ----------------------–
    See what I mean, big Tom? Not serious, and hasn't been since the hiatus she took following the 2012 re-election. It's character assasination and name calling that are the norm for Fair now.

    Your conclusions are flawed. Reduced revenue over here, does not automatically equate to a future tax hike over there. How come you weren't so concerned about this when you were complailning about the price of oil going up? Wouldn't the price of oil dropping also reduce revenue? You're either being hypocritical, or a complete demagogue.

    February 18, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Ha, ha ,ha.... Listen to the righties howl, "this will cost jobs"... Just to whine about something!

    Nothing really new/ unanticipated here. The engine manufacturers, the truck manufacturers, and the EPA have been talking and working on this for years!

    February 18, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. rs

    Lizzie

    rs,you always scream about subsidies the oil companies get, besides depletion, every corporation gets the same. Yet the oil companies pay billions in royalty to the government, you don't complain about that, or the taxes they pay.
    _____________________
    $billions for $millions- do the math.

    February 18, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Not sure if you've read his foolishness du jour on this thread. The deeper he gets in, the deeper he digs.
    --------–
    See what I mean, big Tom? Not serious, and hasn't been since the hiatus she took following the 2012 re-election. It's character assasination and name calling that are the norm for Fair now.

    Your conclusions are flawed. Reduced revenue over here, does not automatically equate to a future tax hike over there. How come you weren't so concerned about this when you were complailning about the price of oil going up? Wouldn't the price of oil dropping also reduce revenue? You're either being hypocritical, or a complete demagogue.
    -------
    OMG. Rudy, what in the world is wrong with you? What does the price of oil have to do with anything? Fuel tax isn't based on the price of oil... it's a fixed, per-gallon tax on refined transportation fuels such as gasoline or diesel. It does not matter what the price of oil is. At all.

    February 18, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Me

    Sniffit

    "Just like health insurance, the prices for medium and heavy duty trucks will go up. The companies that buy these trucks will then pass the increase in costs to the consumer and tax payers"

    Waaaaah, progress and innovation cost money!!! Waaaah, we should never ever do anything anymore in order to push industry forward and make life better!!!! Everything is good enough as it is and the status quo is perfectly dandy forever and ever!!!! Nothing needs to change ever because it's just fine the way it is!!!! Change and attempting to make things better are horrible!!!!

    Ridiculous.
    _____________
    Yes you are being ridiculous sniffy, you mocking people only makes YOU sound like a childish 10 year old that has no intelligence to bring to the conversation.

    Right now, at this point in time, YES, the government should leave the regulations that are in place and focus on JOBS and the ECONOMY, we have made good progress on MPG etc in the past 10-20 years so let’s focus on JOBS and bring the economy back right now!!! You and liberals alike, cry non-stop about jobs so why doesn't the party that has 2/3s control of the government do something about it, something beside complaining???? It is always someone else’s responsibility according to liberals…..

    February 18, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. rs

    Gunderson

    Um,
    Have you heard of the guy that invented a carburetor that got 500 miles per gallon but was bought by the oil companies so they could sell more gasoline!
    ___________________
    Yes! He runs the GOPs's faux web sites and has cash to transfer from Nigerian Princes.

    February 18, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    " Wasn't it the repubs that just wanted to delay and Obama was the one that refused?"

    If you don't understand the vast difference between the employer and individual mandate in the ACA and the fact that the are not analogous, not in any way alike in terms of the functional role they play in the ACA and are not similarly subject to delay or extension...not to mention the fact that the GOP/Teatrolls were proposing delays and extensions of things and in a manner that were deliberately designed to screw up the implementation of the ACA as much as possible...then you don't understand the debate and are just mindlessly repeating what you've heard someone say to you, because hey, despite it being horribly wrong and off-base, it sure sounded like what you wanted to hear.

    February 18, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Me

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    MY model is a house of bent cards? YOUR model assumes that for revenue to remain constant, there has to be an increase of consumption equal to the loss of per-gallon taxation tax receipts.
    ----------–
    I have made no predictions of anything. That's your ideology talking again. I've simply pointed out the numerous flaws in your fear mongering at the top of the thread. I find it amazing that you're even arguing for higher revenue. One would think that you would find lower revenue would equate to smaller government, and would not be complaining about it. Conservative hypocrisy strikes out again.

    "Nice try, but we gotcha."
    _____________
    LMFAO, Rudy's philosophy, if all else fails, just say "Nice try, but we gotcha".....

    February 18, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Do you honestly believe that gas prices will remain the same and there will be no adjustment without the subsidies??"

    No, in fact I said there would be. I also said that according to most experts in the field, it would be miniscule and not the great avalanche of gas price-hikes the demagogues trying to protect the subsidies want you to think it would cause. You want to claim that you're giving people some sort of view of "honest ramifications," but you cite to nothing. All you do is repeat the ideological claptrap flowing from the RWNJs. Experts disagree with you and them...but CNN certainly doesn't want to talk about that and they certainly don't want to talk about why, because the way gas prices are determined is very complicated and it wouldn't be at all helpful to perpetuating this nontroversy if they went to the effort of helping people understand why the GOP/Teatroll are full of feces on yet another claim that appeals to entirely incorrect, but nice-sounding, "conventional wisdom."

    February 18, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Fair wrote:

    OMG. Rudy, what in the world is wrong with you? What does the price of oil have to do with anything? Fuel tax isn't based on the price of oil... it's a fixed, per-gallon tax on refined transportation fuels such as gasoline or diesel. It does not matter what the price of oil is. At all.
    -------------------–
    Good, you're not a hypocrite. I didn't think you were. Your original post was nothing more than fear mongering, Fair. You drew the conclusion that increased efficiency will ONLY lead to higher taxes in the future to make up for reduced revenue.

    That was your point, was it not? Something must be done to make for loss revenue. Taxes must be restructured, or raised. You even suggested a tax per every mile driven tax. Fear mongering, Fair. I'll call a spade, a spade. You're just fear mongering. You have no real point to make.

    "AH, Obama will force us to raise taxes if we increase fuel efficiency."

    Give me a break.

    February 18, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. tom l

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Not sure if you've read his foolishness du jour on this thread. The deeper he gets in, the deeper he digs.
    --––
    See what I mean, big Tom? Not serious, and hasn't been since the hiatus she took following the 2012 re-election. It's character assasination and name calling that are the norm for Fair now.

    Your conclusions are flawed. Reduced revenue over here, does not automatically equate to a future tax hike over there. How come you weren't so concerned about this when you were complailning about the price of oil going up? Wouldn't the price of oil dropping also reduce revenue? You're either being hypocritical, or a complete demagogue.
    ---
    OMG. Rudy, what in the world is wrong with you? What does the price of oil have to do with anything? Fuel tax isn't based on the price of oil... it's a fixed, per-gallon tax on refined transportation fuels such as gasoline or diesel. It does not matter what the price of oil is. At all.
    ====

    OMG X2. My head is spinning right now. So now, all of the sudden, math becomes ideological? How is that possible? And Rudy, where did she resort to name calling? She is pointing out tha t you are clearly not making any sense. A per gallon tax is a per gallon tax and has nothing to do with the price of a gallon. I'm not sure how you could possibly be arguing with Fair here. She's pointing something out that should be very important to you – more revenue to the govt (or in this case, clearly less revenue). If I get 100 miles on a tank offafjla

    February 18, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. tom l

    "The "wonderful" ws put there on purpose to light your fuse and the fuse of the other usual suspects. It is also something that Wake up People and I like to toss about just to see folks like you go off the deep end"
    ====

    I hate to say this but that is exactly what my 10 year old nephew does.

    February 18, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair wrote:

    OMG. Rudy, what in the world is wrong with you? What does the price of oil have to do with anything? Fuel tax isn't based on the price of oil... it's a fixed, per-gallon tax on refined transportation fuels such as gasoline or diesel. It does not matter what the price of oil is. At all.
    -------–
    Good, you're not a hypocrite. I didn't think you were. Your original post was nothing more than fear mongering, Fair. You drew the conclusion that increased efficiency will ONLY lead to higher taxes in the future to make up for reduced revenue.

    That was your point, was it not? Something must be done to make for loss revenue. Taxes must be restructured, or raised. You even suggested a tax per every mile driven tax. Fear mongering, Fair. I'll call a spade, a spade. You're just fear mongering. You have no real point to make.

    "AH, Obama will force us to raise taxes if we increase fuel efficiency."

    Give me a break.
    --------
    You cannot possibly be this obtuse.

    My original point was that increased efficiency, in a taxation model of a fixed amount per gallon, MUST result in reduced revenue, and that in order to maintain a level amount of revenue, either the rate of taxation must increase OR a different taxation model, such as a per-mile model, must be introduced. I've proven this over and over again through examples and mathematics. You still argue, saying I'm a fear monger or demagogue.

    Epic fail. EPIC. FAIL.

    February 18, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. tom l

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Not sure if you've read his foolishness du jour on this thread. The deeper he gets in, the deeper he digs.
    --------–
    See what I mean, big Tom? Not serious, and hasn't been since the hiatus she took following the 2012 re-election. It's character assasination and name calling that are the norm for Fair now.

    Your conclusions are flawed. Reduced revenue over here, does not automatically equate to a future tax hike over there. How come you weren't so concerned about this when you were complailning about the price of oil going up? Wouldn't the price of oil dropping also reduce revenue? You're either being hypocritical, or a complete demagogue
    ====

    So...Rudy, I'm not sure where she called you any names. I think she is just pointing out how confused you sound. The price of gas has absolutely nothing to do with what she's talking about. Nothing. It is the consumption tax (i.e. you get taxed for what you use). Simply, if I get 10 miles per gallon and I get 100 miles per tank and there is a 5 cent tax per gallon then I pay 50 cents in taxes. If I now get 20 miles to the gallon I now go 200 miles (meaning I consume less) and therefore will only pay 25 cents per 100 miles. This decrease in usage means less taxable events and therefore less revenue to the US Govt. Where will the govt get that now missing 25 cents to make up for the lack of revenue? It has to come from somewhere. I would think that as a liberal you would be very concerned about the revenues to the federal govt. You just don't like that a dastardly conservative like Fair is pointing that out. Very similar when Sniffit wouldn't support Rand Paul the other day when he filed a lawsuit against the govt simply because it was Rand Paul who filed the lawsuit (never mind that he agrees with the argument.). The trend appears to me that for liberals it's WHO says it, not WHAT the contents of that "it" are.

    February 18, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Why is Darrel Issa such a grease ball ?

    Why do Republicans like making money off of insanity ?

    Why dose the GOP still believe the world is flat ?

    Why dose the religious right feel the need to have more then five children ?

    If you want to know the answers to these questions , don't ask Louie Gohmert .

    February 18, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Bill from GA

    A lot of debate here about less fuel burned equals less money for transportation.

    i have a solution I call the Richard Petty Method: Raise the speed limit to 100 mph on all Interstates.
    Since cars are going faster, they will be on the road less time, leaving more room on the roads at any given time and thus less need for more lanes.
    Also, cars going 100 mph will use more fuel, generating more fuel tax revenue.

    Anyone questioning the practicality of this measure should drive on GA 400 northbound outside I285. Works great!!

    February 18, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair posted: February 18, 2014 09:12 am
    "Followed up, no doubt, with a per-mile taxation model as opposed to the current per-gallon taxation model."

    Fair is Fair posted: February 18, 2014 09:24 am
    "How else will the department of transportation deal with a 20% reduction in revenue, Tom?"

    Fair is Fair posted: February 18, 2014 09:49 am
    "Right. The model still holds, no matter the % increase in efficiency. 20% was an example. But go ahead, Rudy... try to say that Obama hasn't mandated higher fuel efficiency on autos. Go ahead."
    -------------------------
    Fear mongering with made up facts. Citing 20% was no example. It was a challenge. It was a question.
    Why not use 5%? Because double digits sounds good, and 20 is even better.
    And, just what is wrong with higher fuel efficiency standards? It raises our taxes, that's why. Ridiculous delusions, Fair.

    February 18, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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