Obama takes next step in fuel efficiency drive
February 18th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
9 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. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair posted: February 18, 2014 09:55 am

    "My post was to point out that there will be a coresponding decrease in net revenue, and that in order to operate at the same budget, one of 2 things will need to occur – an increase in the per-gallon tax under the current model, OR a different model of taxation."
    -------------------------
    Fear mongering. If we increase fuel efficiency, then we will have higher taxes.

    February 18, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Name

    Problem with trains any time it floods or severe heavy rain trains either derail or can't run due to the risk of derailing and wrecking rail

    February 18, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair posted: February 18, 2014 09:55 am

    "My post was to point out that there will be a coresponding decrease in net revenue, and that in order to operate at the same budget, one of 2 things will need to occur – an increase in the per-gallon tax under the current model, OR a different model of taxation."
    ---------
    Fear mongering. If we increase fuel efficiency, then we will have higher taxes.
    --------
    No, I clearly stated that if we increase efficiency, we will have LESS REVENUE and in order to maintain current levels an increase in taxation rates would be necessary.

    February 18, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "we have made good progress on MPG etc in the past 10-20 years"

    Thanks to the gov't doing things like what Obama is doing.

    "so let’s focus on JOBS and bring the economy back right now!!!"

    This will create jobs. Incentives and pressure to innovate creates jobs. It will be particularly useful if the subsidies stop getting paid as blood money and are redirected towards a pool from which research grants and other incentives to innovate are provided.

    "why doesn't the party that has 2/3s control of the government do something about it, something beside complaining????"

    Oh, I see, this is another "Obama and the Dems haven't done anything" argument. Will you be treating us to "Obama and the Dems do whatever they want, have shoved their entire agenda down our throats, something something socialism dictatorship tyranny" argument in the next thread? How about some misplaced anger about what "tyrant" Obama is for using any executive authority at all to create jobs because the House, controlled by the GOP, won't do anything but attack the ACA and abortion/contraception? And let's just ignore the Senate immigration reform bill, which experts predicted will create 6M jobs, but which the House GOP/Teatrolls won't allow to even be voted upon.

    February 18, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    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.
    -------
    Again, nothing I've posted is contradictory to the basic premise that in a per-gallon taxation model, net revenue will decrease – UNLESS taxation rates increase or another taxation model is introduced. You tire me.

    February 18, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "No, I clearly stated that if we increase efficiency, we will have LESS REVENUE and in order to maintain current levels an increase in taxation rates would be necessary.

    Come on Fear Is Fear, we all know the GOP/Teatrolls use that line to implicitly threaten that tax rates will have to go up, i.e., "they're going to tax you harder if you let them do this and it'll eat up all your fuel savings so it won't matter how efficient your car is something something garbledigook."

    February 18, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Bill from GA

    Hey, Rudy, check Rep. Earl Blumenauer's plan to nearly double the federal gas tax,largely due to increased fuel efficiency!

    Not fear-mongering, just reality. 4000# cars getting great fuel economy wear out the roads as much as 4000# cars getting terrible fuel economy, but the revenue from taxes (for building and maintaining roads) is half. (say, 18 mpg for old car. 36 mpg for new car, not unreasonable)

    Nobody from NYC knows about cars, only ones they see are cabs.

    February 18, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Miguel

    As long as you are with more deaths on the road from cars built with lighter materials, then go for it.

    February 18, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. Me

    mlbex

    rs:
    Insanity- yet the GOP supports the oil & gas industry with "socialist" subsidies. Care to explain that?
    --
    I can explain it. The oil companies have both parties by the shorthairs.
    _______________________
    100% True, funny that Obama and the liberals had FULL control of the government for 2 years and 2/3 control for 3 years now and subsidies still exist!!! BOTH are in bed with big oil!

    February 18, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -Miguel

    As long as you are with more deaths on the road from cars built with lighter materials, then go for it.
    ***************
    What a load of bollocks. Cars have been getting lighter and more fuel efficent for years, and cars are more safe now than at any point in history. Another worthless argument to try and prop up the idea of not changing.

    February 18, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    Miguel

    As long as you are with more deaths on the road from cars built with lighter materials, then go for it.
    --------
    Awwwww... come on, Miguel. That's just one of those pesky unintended consequences. Collateral damage.

    February 18, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. rs

    Perhaps it is just me, but it is a bit stunning that some people here find the attempt to make a significant portion of this nation's transportation system more efficient and less costly has degenerated into some sort of rally in support of pollution, lower mpg and the bad use of limited resources.
    There is no causal data to show that raising fuel economy standards will result in:
    1. Higher prices
    2. Permanent reduced revenues
    3. More expensive fuel
    4. Fewer jobs
    Simple reason? There is no historical model that shows otherwise.

    This certainly does not impact personal freedom in any way (What? You want inefficient trucks on the road? You want to BUY inefficient trucks? You want your goods delivered by inefficient trucks? You want to breath bad air?). Nor does this single act reveal some darker piece of the President's energy plan to turn us all into zombies (or whatever conspiracy theory you may wish to promote here).

    This is about taking a small simple step to improve and fix OUR environment- you know the place we all LIVE in.

    The Koch brothers won't do it. BP won't do it. Duke Energy won't do it. This nonsense is simple political reactionary silliness done without thought or logic or with any care for the future.

    Crazy.

    February 18, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. tom l

    Fair,
    This is classic. They are so concerned that it was a conservative that brought up such a valid point that they now must try to discredit you. Clearly, you have dominated them on this thread

    February 18, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    "My post was to point out that there will be a coresponding decrease in net revenue, and that in order to operate at the same budget, one of 2 things will need to occur – an increase in the per-gallon tax under the current model, OR a different model of taxation."

    Fear mongering. If we increase fuel efficiency, then we will have higher taxes.
    --–
    No, I clearly stated that if we increase efficiency, we will have LESS REVENUE and in order to maintain current levels an increase in taxation rates would be necessary.

    Again, nothing I've posted is contradictory to the basic premise that in a per-gallon taxation model, net revenue will decrease – UNLESS taxation rates increase or another taxation model is introduced. You tire me.
    --------------------------------
    ".....one of 2 things will need to occur – an increase in the per-gallon tax under the current model....."

    I'm sorry, Fair, but you very clearly stated that we need to raise taxes, or restructure the tax code. Fear mongering is what you've reduced yourself to. Your opening salvo about a per mile taxation model was clearly fear mongering. Sorry, there's no denying it, Fair.

    February 18, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    "As long as you are with more deaths on the road from cars built with lighter materials, then go for it."

    Awwwww... come on, Miguel. That's just one of those pesky unintended consequences. Collateral damage.
    -------------------------
    There you go again. Fear mongering. I don't blame you for doing it. Your views are a product of your environment.

    February 18, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    tom l

    Fair,
    This is classic. They are so concerned that it was a conservative that brought up such a valid point that they now must try to discredit you. Clearly, you have dominated them on this thread
    -------
    Shouldn't have wasted my time. But seeing Rudy flop around like a fish out of water is just too delicious to turn down.

    February 18, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -Fair is Fair

    Miguel

    As long as you are with more deaths on the road from cars built with lighter materials, then go for it.
    --–
    Awwwww... come on, Miguel. That's just one of those pesky unintended consequences. Collateral damage.
    ************************
    Fair, do you actually have proof of that, or did you get worn out with your other argument?

    February 18, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. Me

    Sniffit

    "I've been told that my observation is nothing but "right wing fear mongering". Not true, but it's come to be expected."

    It sort of is though. You haven't provided any argument as to why that's a bad thing...people paying less in taxes because they get to purchase less gas. You've essentially just said and implied "something something is bad...dun dun DUUUUUUUN!!!!!" without any argument to explain why it's bad.
    ____________
    Dude, do you need a diagram drawn for you, as someone already stated earlier, go find an adult and have them explain it to you stop wasting Fair's time. LMFAO

    February 18, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    "My post was to point out that there will be a coresponding decrease in net revenue, and that in order to operate at the same budget, one of 2 things will need to occur – an increase in the per-gallon tax under the current model, OR a different model of taxation."

    Fear mongering. If we increase fuel efficiency, then we will have higher taxes.
    ––
    No, I clearly stated that if we increase efficiency, we will have LESS REVENUE and in order to maintain current levels an increase in taxation rates would be necessary.

    Again, nothing I've posted is contradictory to the basic premise that in a per-gallon taxation model, net revenue will decrease – UNLESS taxation rates increase or another taxation model is introduced. You tire me.
    ----------–
    ".....one of 2 things will need to occur – an increase in the per-gallon tax under the current model....."

    I'm sorry, Fair, but you very clearly stated that we need to raise taxes, or restructure the tax code. Fear mongering is what you've reduced yourself to. Your opening salvo about a per mile taxation model was clearly fear mongering. Sorry, there's no denying it, Fair.
    -------
    And yet you leave out the one key phrase – IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN CURRENT REVENUE LEVELS.

    You cherrypicker you.

    February 18, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    "As long as you are with more deaths on the road from cars built with lighter materials, then go for it."

    Awwwww... come on, Miguel. That's just one of those pesky unintended consequences. Collateral damage.
    ---------
    There you go again. Fear mongering. I don't blame you for doing it. Your views are a product of your environment.
    -------–
    The left doesn't seem to understand sarcasm... or something like that. Eh, Rudy?

    February 18, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    tom l

    Fair, This is classic. They are so concerned that it was a conservative that brought up such a valid point that they now must try to discredit you. Clearly, you have dominated them on this thread
    ---------------------
    Classic? Fair certainly spread the Fear around the thread, that's for sure. Sorry, tom, but Fair is wrong, but classic denial prevents her from admitting it. Reduced revenue does not require tax increases in order to offset the lost revenue. Fair has been trying to scare people with manufactured facts, and personal opinions that she's passing off as facts.

    February 18, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    tom l

    Fair,
    This is classic. They are so concerned that it was a conservative that brought up such a valid point that they now must try to discredit you. Clearly, you have dominated them on this thread
    ------–
    I have a feeling Rudy's going to get a couple more "vacation days" ;)

    February 18, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Me

    @Rudy
    Says the extreme liberal poster. I am independent and very moderate. I believe in ALL freedoms, not just ones that each party picks and chooses, marry who you want, consume what you want, protect yourself with whatever weapon you want, and so on! I believe in smaller government, notice I state smaller government, we do need some regulations and control otherwise the world would be a mess and total anarchy would prevail but there is also too much regulation where you discourage business growth among other negative effects. Just because some of us don't believe in your fairy tale world or the controlling of our bedroom activities, does not mean we are extreme, I am FAR from extreme, YOU are way more extreme then I am!!!!

    February 18, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. Bill from GA

    Rudy NYC – " Your opening salvo about a per mile taxation model was clearly fear mongering "

    Rudy, they are doing exactly that in Oregon, on a test basis. Sorry, there's no denying it. They are looking for solutions to the problem of LOST REVENUE, happening NOW, due to improved fuel efficiency, and electric cars.

    February 18, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    Bill from GA

    Hey, Rudy, check Rep. Earl Blumenauer's plan to nearly double the federal gas tax,largely due to increased fuel efficiency!

    Not fear-mongering, just reality. 4000# cars getting great fuel economy wear out the roads as much as 4000# cars getting terrible fuel economy, but the revenue from taxes (for building and maintaining roads) is half. (say, 18 mpg for old car. 36 mpg for new car, not unreasonable)

    Nobody from NYC knows about cars, only ones they see are cabs.
    --------
    Careful, Bill... you too can be called a fear monger.

    February 18, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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