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Did you know the average tractor-trailer on the road today gets roughly six miles per gallon? Thankfully, the Obama administration is taking action to make our trucks more efficient. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) are beginning the process of setting the next round of standards to reduce carbon pollution and fuel use from medium and heavy-duty vehicles (everything from delivery trucks to 18-wheelers).
Building on previous standards, we can reduce fuel consumption in new trucks 40 percent by 2025, when compared to 2010 trucks, with even greater reductions possible in future years.
Setting strong standards for delivery trucks and tractor-trailers is crucial if we are to cut carbon pollution and reduce oil use. Analysis from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that strong standards that reduce truck fuel consumption 40 percent by 2025 would save 1.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2030 - roughly equivalent to our oil imports from Venezuela and Iraq combined in 2011. Such standards would also keep 270 million metric tons of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere annually by 2030, all while providing tractor-trailer drivers $30,000 in annual fuel savings.
These strong standards are technically feasible. Using technologies such as advanced transmissions, low-rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic trailers, we can significantly reduce the amount of oil used by trucks. Many of these technologies are already being showcased, notably in the prototype Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck. Today tractor trailers account for roughly 66 percent of the oil consumption in the truck sector. Using advanced technologies, we can reduce the fuel consumption of new tractor-trailers 46 percent. Similarly, we can improve the efficiency of vocational vehicles (buses, delivery vehicles, garbage trucks) and heavy-duty pickup trucks and large vans.
Right now EPA and DOT are expected to propose the next round of truck fuel efficiency and emissions standards in March of 2014. This is a critical opportunity to reduce oil consumption and cut carbon pollution. The Obama administration should seize this opportunity and set strong standards that reduce new truck fuel consumption 40 percent by 2025.
Check out the great infographic below for more information!
-- Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Sierra Club
People across Kosovo are banding together to save lives. 825 lives, to be exact. That’s the number of Kosovars the World Bank estimates die every year due to pollution from coal-fired power plants. But instead of helping Kosovo transition to safer, clean energy, and despite its own estimates of coal’s deadly cost, the World Bank and the U.S. Government are pushing for a new coal plant that will burn the dirtiest form of coal, lignite, in Pristina, one of Europe’s most polluted cities. Now KOSID, a consortium of nongovernmental organizations in Kosovo, is launching a series of primetime television ads revealing the exorbitant costs citizens from this impoverished country will bear if the project goes forward -- 100 million euro from their own pockets. Between the monetary price and the lives lost, the new ads ask: Is a coal plant really worth this cost?
This isn’t the first time KOSID has raised its voice about this deadly and expensive coal plant. In response to the complete disregard for their health and welfare, they launched a series of evocative ads exposing the dangerous health risks of the plan last year. But their calls have fallen on deaf ears.
Perhaps the most frustrating fact that neither the World Bank nor the U.S. Government are interested in clean energy in Kosovo is just how far superior these options are for this young country. The Bank’s former chief clean-energy czar, Dr. Daniel Kammen, released a study showing that clean energy can power Kosovo, and do it more cheaply than coal while simultaneously creating more jobs.
It’s time for the World Bank and the U.S. State Department to heed the increasing calls from local organizations in Kosovo to move the country into the 21st century and embrace the clean energy technology. That can save lives by powering Kosovo without the deadly pollution and high price tag tied to coal.
As KOSID’s new ad concludes: “the solution is not to use more, it’s to waste less.” It’s time the World Bank heeded that lesson with the scarce development dollars it deploys around the world. It’s time to stop wasting this money on coal plants that kill people when we have cheaper, abundant clean energy options.
--Justin Guay, International Climate Program, Sierra Club, and Jeta Xharra, Director of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Kosovo
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