American cars and pickup trucks are responsible for nearly half of the greenhouse gases emitted by automobiles globally, even though the nation’s vehicles make up just 30% of the nearly 700 million cars in use, according to a new report by Environmental Defense.
Cars in the U.S. are driven more miles, face lower fuel economy standards and use fuel with more carbon than many of those driven in other countries, the authors found. According to the report by the environmental group, U.S. cars and light trucks were driven 2.6 trillion miles in 2004, equal to driving back and forth to Pluto more than 470 times.
The report’s authors hope their findings will bolster efforts in Congress to require federal regulators to raise fuel economy standards for vehicles and set a mandatory cap on greenhouse gases from all sources. Numerous studies have linked carbon dioxide emissions from burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline to global warming.
We own a Toyota Prius. My wife drives it approximately 50 miles to work and back every day. The Prius gets about 50 mpg and, after about 50,000 miles, has been absolutely trouble free. There is a common misconception that you have to sacrifice something to own a hybrid. That has not been our experience. Given the price of gas, we have made up the price difference and are now saving money. She drives on the freeway and the Prius handles as well, if not better than, any other compact. And, of course, it carries an AT-PZEV rating, which makes the Prius one the cleanest production cars on the road today when it comes to emissions. It is 90% cleaner than that of the average car.
The facts are clear and solutions are here. In addition to raising fuel economy standards and creating a cap on emissions, there should be a tax incentive for hybrid purchase. All we lack is leadership from the President and Congress