Thinking about buying an electric vehicle, but worried about where to plug-in? Trying to maximize the electric miles you drive with your plug-in hybrid? How about plugging-in while you work? Well, there’s good news for you — at least in California Read More
September 18th, 2013
September 13th, 2013
If you’ve been following auto industry news of late, you already know that new car sales in the U.S. are hitting heights they haven’t seen in years. This is certainly good news for the auto companies and auto dealers – but it’s also good news for consumers, as more efficient vehicle choices roll into showrooms thanks to the ramping up of fuel economy standards over the last several years.
New car buyers not only have more choices, but also have better information on which to base their new car purchase decisions, thanks to improved fuel economy labels developed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011. So where does that leave someone looking to purchase a used car? Out of luck, when it comes to good information on how far that vehicle can go on a gallon of gas and what that might mean in terms of global warming emissions. That is, until yesterday. Read More
August 29th, 2013
To a scientist, having new data to study is like a child having a new candy store to explore. With the EPA’s release of new air pollution rules, I’ve just learned of the Willy Wonka Factory of data in my field of study. The rules require new air quality monitors near major roadways in US cities. The new data will ultimately help us better protect from harmful air pollutants the millions of Americans who live, work, and play close to major roads.
August 27th, 2013
The recent announcement from Ford that they will be changing the MPG rating of their Ford C-Max hybrid isn’t just a reminder of how much consumers care about fuel economy, but how important it is to get the ratings right. Accurate ratings can be a challenge as vehicles get more efficient since small variations in fuel consumption are amplified in the vehicles’ MPG ratings. The experience with the C-Max is moving the EPA to reexamine some aspects of their MPG labeling certification requirements to make sure they keep pace with advances in fuel economy. This is good news for both automakers—who tout vehicle ratings as key selling points—and consumers, who depend on MPG ratings when comparing their vehicle choices. Read More
August 26th, 2013
If you follow UCS, you are probably aware that electric vehicles are clean, cheap to fuel, and an important part of our plan to reduce projected oil consumption by half within 20 years. You may not be aware, however, that you can now add another important feature to the list of benefits derived from electric vehicles; safety.
The Best Cars for the Climate? What a Recent Report on Electric Cars Gets Right — and Where We Need More Analysis
August 13th, 2013
A new report by Climate Central (CC) compares the emissions from electric vehicles (EVs) to gasoline-only cars and examines how the emissions change depending where you are driving in the country. My interpretation of the results: EVs are less polluting than the average new gasoline vehicle everywhere in the U.S. and EVs are better than the best gasoline car in many parts of the country. Read More
August 7th, 2013
In late July, the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, in collaboration with UCLA, held a workshop and public forum on “Science, Democracy and Community Decisions on Fracking”. We organized the forum in response to the exponential growth of hydraulic fracturing for unconventional oil and natural gas that is transforming our energy economy. Read More
July 29th, 2013
There are folks who will tell you that as American citizens, we have a solemn responsibility to complain about taxes. And ideological bluster aside, they have a point: our tax code is a complete mess. The latest attempt at taking a legislative mop to this mess comes from the Senate Finance Committee, led by Chairman Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Hatch (R-UT). These two members recently outlined a proposal to “wipe the slate clean” and start tax policy over from scratch. Read More
A Peek Inside the Administrator’s Inbox – Some of What’s Waiting for Gina McCarthy as New EPA Administrator
July 18th, 2013
The Senate has finally confirmed Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). She starts with a very full plate. I have some personal experience with what lies ahead for Administrator McCarthy; I once directed a federal agency myself.
June 27th, 2013