Looking to start the new year with a new vehicle? Begin your obsessive internet research by reading the following recap of updates to the 2016 Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF, both electric vehicles that can seriously cut your transportation emissions while saving you some coin on fuel. I also preview the all-new Tesla Model X, debuting at a high price point but with features that could justify its six-figure price tag. Read More
October 8th, 2015
September 18th, 2015
Do you own a 2.0L diesel vehicle made by Volkswagen or Audi from 2009 or after? I’m sorry to inform you, but according to the EPA your car has been polluting the environment at a level between 10 and 40 times its legal limit. Volkswagen and Audi, who manufacture the majority of diesel vehicles in the United States, have been cheating emissions tests instead of complying with more stringent smog-forming pollution standards. Read More
September 16th, 2015
Every day seems to bring a new internet holiday, from “Talk Like a Pirate” Day to National Cat Day (like we need an excuse to share cat videos or say “Arrrrh”?). But while the internet may have alerted you that it’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, it’s no passing fad—at 27 years strong, NTDAW is a reminder of all the hard work that goes into moving goods around the country and some of the unsung folks that help drive our economy. Read More
September 16th, 2015
This week, thousands of people across the U.S. are checking out the future of driving at National Drive Electric Week events. You can find events near you—and get a chance to ride in or drive an electric car—by checking the event website. The event has grown since the first Plug-in Day in 2011 as the number of electric models on sale has gone from 3 to about 20.
So how did we get here? Electric cars have seen big advances in the past five years, but the journey to today’s electric cars stretches back a century, and it’s a fascinating story. The details are laid out in the new book “Car Wars” by John Fialka, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and the founder of ClimateWire. Read More
September 14th, 2015
With fuel such a key expense for truck fleets, one of the questions I get asked the most is—why do we need fuel economy rules? As I outlined in Engines for Change, there are actually a lot of market barriers that can slow investment in efficient trucking, including fuel surcharges and the risk-averse conservatism of a capital-constrained marketplace. But you don’t need to take my word for it: Fleet owners across the country also support fuel economy regulations. Read More
September 1st, 2015
Governor Brown’s goal of cutting oil use by up to 50 percent, and the subsequent legislative effort through SB350 to codify that goal in California law, has raised the rancor of the oil industry. It’s not surprising an industry might get defensive when lawmakers want to slash the amount of product they sell – nor is it surprising that an industry with a history of deception would not let the facts stand in the way of their response. Despite their “consumer-friendly” ads, the oil industry is really working against the public interest to protect their stranglehold over our transportation choices.
But the fact of the matter is that California, and the rest of the nation, can cut its oil use in half. Read More
August 6th, 2015
The web is abuzz right now over the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and rightly so—this is one of the President’s key items under his Climate Action Plan. But did you know that the EPA recently proposed another major climate regulation? In June, the EPA and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) proposed a major new phase of regulations that will reduce fuel consumption and global warming emissions from heavy-duty trucks. Read More
July 14th, 2015
Where does electricity come from? When you flip a light switch on, you’re getting electricity from somewhere—maybe a spinning gas turbine, or maybe a battery storing excess electricity generated by wind or solar power. When you flip the light switch off, the grid responds by shifting its sources around, ensuring everyone connected is receiving a steady flow of electrons. Read More
July 10th, 2015
A new working paper by a team of economists has recently been characterized as showing that electric vehicles (EVs) are worse than gasoline vehicles (for example: “Electric Cars: Not So Environmentally Friendly After All?”). On the one hand, this study reiterates what we and others have said: plug-in electric vehicles have greater air quality and global warming emissions benefits when they are charged using sources of electricity cleaner than coal, like natural gas or renewables like wind and solar. Unfortunately, however, the authors’ conclusions that EVs are worse than gasoline vehicles are based on questionable assumptions about electricity sources, air pollution sources, and vehicle characteristics that bias their overall results against electric vehicles. Read More
Interview with Harvard’s James Stock: Navigating a Sensible Middle Path Forward on the Renewable Fuel Standard
July 9th, 2015
Earlier this month I had the chance to sit down with Professor James Stock of Harvard University to discuss the future of biofuels and the key federal policy governing them, the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
Professor Stock served as a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors in 2013 and 2014. He was deeply involved in deliberations about the RFS during his tenure, and it was in that context that I first met him, back in October 2013, when I went to the White House to offer perspective on how best to implement the RFS. Read More