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Vehicle and Fuel Policy

Clean vehicle and fuel technologies help decrease air pollution, lower global warming emissions, and reduce U.S. oil consumption. We need smart government policies that encourage the development and adoption of these technologies—and move America toward a cleaner, safer transportation future.

The Half the Oil Plan

There is a practical, realistic plan that would cut projected U.S. oil use in half over the next 20 years...and the Union of Concerned Scientists has it.

Countries around the world and industries here at home are moving ahead with innovative technologies that make cars and trucks more efficient, hybrid and electric vehicles more practical, and fuels less polluting.

Smart vehicle and fuel policies can help implement these solutions—and dramatically reduce our oil consumption, save billions of dollars, and position the United States as a global leader in transportation technology.

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Clean Car Standards

Improving the fuel efficiency of our cars and trucks is the biggest single step we can take to reduce America’s oil consumption.

Historic new fuel economy and global warming emissions standards, if correctly implemented, have the potential to dramatically reduce global warming pollution, decrease our oil use by more than 3 million barrels per day in 2030 (roughly equivalent to the combined U.S. imports from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela), and save consumers more than $8,000 over the life of a 2025 vehicle, even after paying for the more fuel-efficient technology.

But even more can be done. California recently approved vehicle standards that go beyond the scope of the national standards to address other pollutants and to require the sales of electric vehicles. These landmark new standards set an example for the rest of the nation as we transition to cleaner transportation options.

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Advanced Biofuels

Biofuels have an important role to play in reducing global warming emissions and oil dependence. Corn-based ethanol is currently the largest source of biofuel in the United States, but the environmental and food supply problems caused by expanding corn cultivation to produce fuel make it ineffective as a strategy to reduce global warming emissions.

Advanced biofuels made from non-food sources such as garbage, perennial grasses, and waste materials from agriculture and forestry (known as cellulosic biofuels) offer the greatest potential to achieve significant emissions reductions with minimal environmental impacts.

Smart government policy and funding are essential to develop the technology and infrastructure that will make these advanced biofuels commercially viable. The Billion Gallon Challenge is a UCS effort to build the support needed to bring these promising fuels to market.

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