Issue Date: March 25, 2013
Huge Cut Possible In Greenhouse Gases From Cars
By 2050, the U.S. may be able to reduce by 80% petroleum consumption by, and greenhouse gas emissions from, light-duty cars and trucks, according to a report by the National Research Council. But the report says a combination of more-efficient vehicles, increased use of alternative fuels, and strong government policies would be needed to meet that goal. “Vehicles must become dramatically more efficient, regardless of how they are powered,” says Douglas M. Chapin, principal of MPR Associates and chair of the committee that wrote the report. In addition, he says, alternatives to petroleum, such as biofuels and hydrogen, must be readily available, cost-effective, and produced with low emissions of greenhouse gases. Such a transition would be costly and require several decades to develop, the report notes. Improving the efficiency of conventional vehicles is the approach that is most economical and easiest to implement for saving fuel and lowering emissions, according to the analysis.
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