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White House To Clean Up Gas, Auto Emissions

But cutting sulfur content could slightly boost pump price.

by on Mar.29, 2013

The Obama administration is calling for new rules to lower sulfur emissions in gasoline.

The Obama Administration is proposing new rules to reduce the level of noxious sulfur in the nation’s gasoline supply, a move that should reduce emissions – but also add a very small increase in pump prices.

The so-called Tier 3 standards set to go into effect by 2017 would more than offset that increase by improving the nation’s health and saving billions in medical bills, the White House contends. It would yield add-on benefits as lower sulfur levels would permit automakers to adopt even more advanced pollution control systems, several industry executives told TheDetroitBureau.com.

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The Administration previously took steps to reduce sulfur content in the U.S. diesel fuel supply. That has made it possible for the auto industry to meet stringent smog and particulate rules and, in turn, greatly expand the range of high-mileage diesel passenger vehicles available in the United States.

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Obama Wants $2 bil Advanced Vehicle Research Trust Fund

By tapping oil, gas drilling royalties, proposal could win bipartisan support.

by on Mar.15, 2013

President Barack Obama during his State of the Union speech last month.

Following up on a pledge made during his State of the Union address to “shift our cars and trucks off oil for good,” President Barack Obama is seeking Congressional approval for a $2 billion energy trust fund to support the development of advanced vehicle technologies.

The request could be a challenge to achieve considering the current, highly partisan situation in Washington, where even the military has fallen victim to Congressional gridlock. An earlier Obama Administration program focusing on battery propulsion was effectively shut down by Republican opponents after some high-profile problems.

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The White House nonetheless hopes to sidestep the ongoing federal budget debate by promising the requested funding “would be set aside from royalty revenues generated by oil and gas development in federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf.” That could be a salve to those who have demanded the White House continues to expand oil and gas drilling. There are already some signs of support from Republicans.

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EPA Says Climate Change Real. Rejects Challenges

EPA's human health endangerment finding stands. Unknown, costly regulatory consequences for U.S. economy will ensue.

by on Jul.29, 2010

CO2 reduction is no walk in the park for auto makers or thus far unsuspecting consumers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today denied ten petitions challenging its 2009 determination that climate change is real and is occurring due to emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. This threatens human health and the environment.

The latest decision, which has wide-ranging and potentially huge negative consequences for the stumbling U.S. economy, confirms a previous EPA ruling that greenhouse gases (GHGs) threaten the public health and welfare of the American people.

Since virtually all vehicles for the near or longer term will burn fuels that cause large amounts of GHGs, more stringent fuel economy standards are inevitable. This will affect the types, sizes and cost of vehicles – in ways yet unknown — that you will be able to buy.

EPA’s Greenhouse Gas findings were initially issued in response to a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that GHGs fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. Prior to that, under Republican Administrations, the EPA did not take regulatory action to deal with the controversial problem.

Both the previous and today’s EPA position were not surprising given previous public statements of President Obama and his political appointees at EPA. (See EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Threaten Health)

The petitions to reconsider EPA’s Endangerment Finding claimed that climate science cannot be trusted, and assert a conspiracy that invalidates the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

EPA has just said in a statement that after months of “serious consideration” of the petitions and of the state of climate change science, that it finds no evidence to support these claims.

In fact, EPA’s review shows that climate science is “credible, compelling, and growing stronger.”

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Follow Our Emissions!

“The endangerment finding is based on years of science from the U.S. and around the world.  These petitions — based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy — provide no evidence to undermine our determination.  Excess greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and welfare,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

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First Fuel Economy Rules Ordered for Big Trucks

BP's "spill baby, spill" has the Administration pushing for much tougher national regulations for all classes of vehicles.

by on May.21, 2010

The President’s proposal would also order more gains in fuel efficiency for cars and lighter trucks.

President Obama today ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to institute the first regulation to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014-2018.

He also called for national regulations on increasing fuel economy beyond the current ones, which stipulate that new light vehicles  must average at least 35.5 miles to a gallon of fuel by  2016 for combined city and highway driving.

The President’s proposal would order further, unspecified improvements in fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks made in 2017 and beyond. California still has the ability to impose its own regulations after that, and automakers are desperate to have a long-term national policy imposed. How this unfolds in Congress is uncertain, but the Administration called for action before the end of this year. ( See Administration Rolls Out New Fuel Economy Rules )

The Obama announcement comes as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to release the equivalent amount of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez every day or two. No end to what is called the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history  is in sight.

It is estimated that trucks currently use more than two million barrels of oil every day, and average 6.1 miles per gallon. Trucks also emit 20% of the greenhouse gases related to transportation.

The President said in a White House Rose Garden photo opportunity that preliminary estimates indicate the potential for significant fuel efficiency gains of as much as 25% and greenhouse gas emissions reductions for large tractor-trailers, which represent half of all GHG emissions from the sector.

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President Takes Steps to Boost Biofuels, Coal Use

More taxpayer subsidies are apparently underway as Administration recasts rhetoric toward job creation.

by on Feb.03, 2010

Energy independence or more pandering to big business lobbyists?

President Barack Obama today announced a series of steps his Administration is taking as part of its strategy to “enhance American energy independence while building a foundation for a new clean energy economy, and its promise of new industries and millions of jobs.”

The announcement comes as the Administration is under attack for its failure to create jobs despite promises to do so, and with unemployment at levels not seen since the Great Depression.

At a meeting of Republican and Democratic governors, the President proposed three measures would boost biofuels production and reduce dependence on foreign oil – all of them now cloaked as job creating.

The measures at first glance will be controversial, as they seem to require vast new taxpayer subsidies to special interest groups in the agriculture and energy industries. The administration is also under attack for growing deficits, of course, by the Republican party, which turned a budget surplus into a breathtaking deficit after eight years of rule, one that is only getting worse since the collapse of the financial markets in the fall of 2008 and the ensuing and ongoing great recession.

Perhaps the most controversial item as details emerge will be the President’s call for five to ten commercial demonstration projects to be up and running by 2016 of so-called “clean coal” projects, particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS).

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Fuelishness or News?

The President in a memorandum established an Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage to develop a “comprehensive and coordinated federal strategy to speed the development and deployment of clean coal technologies.”

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Readers: Speak Out on the Bailout!

Is Obama’s $600 mil “green car” a boon or boondoggle?

by on Feb.06, 2009

boon-or-boondoggleAs it stands now – and things could change quickly – Pres. Obama is calling for the inclusion of $600 million in the proposed stimulus plan to fund the government’s purchase of new, fuel-efficient vehicles. In fact, there’ve been a number of auto-centric elements proposed or actually included in the stimulus package. One “cash-for-clunkers” proposal, to encourage Americans to replace older vehicles with newer, greener products, has been withdrawn. But there’ a good chance, with the President’s support, that as much as $2 billion could be included for advanced battery research.

Such proposals are taking heat from minority Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, calling the government fleet replacement program “wasteful spending.”

In an energized speech to Congressional Democrats, Pres. Obama, sounding like he was back on the campaign trail, spoke out loudly for the stimulus package, Thursday night. And in another speech, to the Energy Dept., he lambasted GOP lawmakers for calling the green car program “pork.”

“You know the truth,” said Obama. “It will not only save the government significan money over time, it will not only create manufacturing jobs for folks who are making these cars, it will set a standard for private industry to match.”

Who do YOU agree with? Legitimate boon or boondoggle? We’d like YOU, the readers of TheDetroitBureau.com to express their own opinions.

ROI on Audi’s Media Splash

Audi gets big payoff on Obama inauguration bet

by on Jan.27, 2009

Audi bet big on Obama

Audi bet big on Obama

History was made last Tuesday in politics and media coverage as Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States.

According to the latest Nielsen Media Research, Comcast and other research types (it’s still being updated) broadcast television networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – combined was watched by almost 38 million people, slightly less than the coverage of JFK’s event. Data showed NBC won the broadcast net race.

Cable news networks – CNBC, CNN, MSNBC and others who accept advertising dollars which excludes C-Span – had an estimated audience of 18 to 22 million viewers. And the Internet had 22 different sites – newspapers, news magazines, bloggers, and other venues – for several more million viewers.

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Obama Orders Fast Action on CAFE and California Car Standards

Proposed CO2 rules could force a big mileage increase.

by on Jan.26, 2009

Would new CO2 rules bar big SUVs?

Would new CO2 rules bar big SUVs?

As anticipated in our preview post early this morning, President Barack Obama today made some quick moves on the auto industry’s two biggest energy and environmental issues. Although he’s not yet named a “car czar” to oversee financial aid and other federal activities on cars, Mr. Obama established that — whoever the czars or czarinas of his administration might be — they’ll all tow the line when it comes to advancing his agenda.

Signing two executive orders, the president handed one to his Secretary of Transportation and the other to his Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. DOT czar Ray LaHood was directed to quickly finalize a new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rule for model year 2011, and EPA czarina Lisa Jackson was ordered to provide an expedited review of California’s request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

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Arnold to Barack: Let My State Regulate Cars

Obama could find himself in a squeeze between "Ah-nold" and the auto industry.

by on Jan.22, 2009

Arnold to Obama: Don't Terminate CO2 Rules

Arnold to Obama: Don't Terminate CO2 Rules

The whole world is remarking on how the incoming Obama Administration is moving quickly to take charge. In spite of the president’s comments shortly after the election that “there’s only one President,” it became clear (with relief to many) that the transition team was moving quickly to advance its agenda even as Mr. Bush was counting the days until he could head home to his Texas ranch.
Doubtless numerous petitioners have items for the new team’s short list. One of the first to make a plea is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has requested that the Environmental Protection Agency rapidly reconsider its denial of permission for California to implement the “Pavley” standards to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars. This measure is named for then state representative (now state senator) Fran Pavley of Santa Monica, who first introduced it.

Since the California law was passed in 2002, 13 other states and counting have signaled their intent to adopt the standards. If implemented, California rules would cover half the U.S. auto market, holding car and light truck sales in those states to CO2 emissions levels lower than those implied by Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

The California Air Resources Board wrote to Lisa Jackson, the designated appointee for Administrator of EPA, asking the agency to reconsider its March 2008 denial of California’s original waiver petition. The governor’s accompanying letter to the president stated, “I ask that you direct the U.S. EPA to act promptly and favorably on California’s reconsideration request so that we may continue the critical work of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on global climate change.”

It certainly looks like the governor has a receptive audience. Obama officials had previously signaled willingness to moving forward with both federal and state greenhouse gas regulation, with or without new federal legislation. At her confirmation hearing last week, Jackson said, “I will review the waiver decision, if I’m confirmed, very, very aggressively very soon after confirmation,” during her response to questions before the committee headed up by Sen. Barbara Boxer.

This development is, of course, no surprise. Automakers have a dwindling number of friends in high places and their credibility remains low among green-leaning policymakers. Part of the problem is that the industry came around too slowly on supporting carbon control. After years of denying that it was a problem worth solving, the depth of their commitment still gets questioned. That’s particularly true when Maximum Bob calls global warming a “crock” even though the Detroit Three now all have official positions supporting a national cap on carbon.

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