Clean Cars would Slash Oil Use and Pollution this Summer

Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center

Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research Center – As Ohioans get ready for summer road trips, an Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center report finds that cleaner, more fuel efficient cars would significantly slash oil consumption and global warming pollution across the state. The report, Summer on the Road: Going Farther on a Gallon of Gas, was released as the Obama administration is on the verge of finalizing fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for cars and light trucks that achieve a 54.5 mpg standard by 2025.

Clean cars can help Ohio families travel to beautiful places like Lake Erie or Hocking Hills this summer, without creating as much of the pollution that threatens those very places,” said Dan Van Voorhis, Grassroots Intern at Environment Ohio. “As hot as this summer is shaping up to be, the last thing we need is more oil burning in our cars and more global warming pollution heating up our atmosphere. But in some of the cars and trucks out there today, a gallon of gas disappears more quickly than a snowball in July. Let’s beat the heat by getting cleaner cars on the road with the Obama administration’s proposed clean car standard.”

If the cars and trucks on the road today met the proposed 54.5 mpg standard, it would slash statewide oil dependence by 619,212691 gallons and cut our global warming pollution by 5,460,330 metric tons this summer alone. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 4.5 coal plants offline for the whole summer. Those savings mean we would burn less cash too, saving the average Ohio family $510.74 at the pump in a summer.

“Not only could you take that trip to Lake Erie or Hocking Hills while burning much less oil along the way, but you could book the family a hotel for a couple of extra days with the money you’re saving,” added Van Voorhis. “The only solution that will relieve the pain we’re feeling at the pump is the one that will protect Ohio’s environment and health too. Our oil dependence doesn’t just cost us at the pump—it threatens our shores with spills like the disaster in the Gulf, spews toxic pollution into our air, and contributes more to global warming than any other fuel. We simply need to get off oil, and a strong, 54.5 mpg clean car standard would be the single biggest step we’ve ever taken. We applaud the Obama administration for its work to make these benefits a reality.”

“All the better, drivers do not have to wait until 2025 to reap the benefits of cleaner cars,” noted Van Voorhis, citing the Natural Resources Defense Council’s related report, Relieving Pain at the Pump. “Thanks to the Obama administration’s first phase of standards that took effect this year, a bumper crop of fuel efficient cars have already started coming to the showroom floor.” The number of models getting more than 30 mpg has tripled since the first phase of standards for years 2012 through 2016 were announced.

President Obama proposed the new 54.5 mpg standard this past fall. The proposal has the support of 13 major automakers, as well as the United Auto Workers and numerous environmental and consumer groups. These national standards grew out of the leadership of 14 states, led by California which previously adopted state-level standards.

Environment Ohio was joined by Sam Spofforth, Executive Director of Clean Fuels Ohio; Dr. Mac Crawford, Associate Professor of Clinical Public Health, Division of Environmental Health Sciences at the Ohio State College of Public Health & also advocate with Health Care Without Harm; Sarah Jadwin, Outreach Coordinator for the EcoCAR 2 team & second-year student at Ohio State; and Lesley Hetrick, a concerned mother, in releasing today’s report.

[Sam Spofforth: “The fuel efficiency standards are very important as they will provide more energy security for the nation, as well as more savings for every American. But we need not wait until the year 2025 when the 54.5 mpg would be implemented; there are many things car owners can do already to improve efficiency, such as keeping tires properly inflated and keeping your vehicle well maintained”]

[Dr. Mac Crawford: “There are clear health benefits to improving the mileage of our automotive fleets. Fewer emissions lead to less ozone production through smog formation and this results in a lower asthma burden for Americans.]

[Lesley Hetrick: “I hate having to feel like there is a big barrier between visiting my grandparents near Lake Erie. The trip costs near $100. I am really grateful that they can come down to visit us, but that can’t always happen”]