Title: Regulation: Fuel Economy Standards Reduce Car Pollution.
Keywords: Energy, efficiency, fuel, motor, vehicle, standards, petroleum, cars.
Summary: Legislators can help reduce fuel consumption and pollution from cars through fuel efficiency standards. Road transport represents one of the biggest sources of CO2 emissions and air pollution. Introducing fuel economy standards for all new vehicles can go some way towards enhancing energy efficiency in the transport sector. The United States and Japan provide two examples where a gradual tightening of fuel efficiency standards has resulted in significant reduction of per vehicle fuel consumption and slower growth in the transport sector's total energy consumption. In Japan savings are expected to reach 14.7 Million Tones of Oil Equivalent (Mtoe) by 2010.
Road vehicles consume a significant share of the world's oil production and represent a big challenge for energy efficiency, especially since the number of vehicles continues to rise as developing country economies grow and private vehicles increasingly dominate as the most important means of transport.
National legislation requiring vehicle manufacturers to ensure that their cars and trucks conform with government-prescribed minimum fuel consumption figures have been developed in several countries, including the United States and Japan.
The United States fuel economy standards, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, were enacted in 1975 and consolidated in later legislation. The CAFE system established precise average fuel economy standards that vehicle manufacturers must attain each year. The CAFE figure takes the fuel economy of each class of vehicle and weights it by the number of vehicles produced in that class each year. There are separate standards for passenger vehicles and for light trucks: i.e. 27.5 miles and 20.7 miles per gallon (mpg) respectively. Manufacturers can earn credits by exceeding the standard set in one year to produce cars with low mpg in later years. Standards are also set for all vehicles produced overseas.
Since 1974, the fuel economy of new, domestic cars in the US has roughly doubled, and the fuel economy of imports has increased by roughly one-third. It is difficult to say exactly how much of this is due to CAFE standards, but the 'Committee on the Effectiveness and Impact of CAFE Standards' claims that the standards have effectively reinforced the effects of technological advancement and rising oil prices. The standards were particularly effective in keeping fuel economy above the levels to which it might have fallen when real gasoline prices fell in the early 1980s.
Japan introduced a 1993 Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy, which divides vehicles into three categories based on weight and targets are set for each of these categories. Targets are progressively tightened. The 2003 efficiency targets represented between 4.8 and 5.8% average improvements over the 1993 levels. The new standards require energy efficiency in vehicles to improve by 25% from 1995 to 2010. In order to discourage vehicle manufacturers from just increasing vehicle size, heavier vehicle categories require a higher level of fuel efficiency. The resulting energy conservation from transport efficiency targets is estimated at 14.7 Mtoe by 2010.
Average Fuel Economy Standards
Law Concerning the Rational Use of Ministry of Trade and industry
Ideas Bank entry: Japan's Top-Runner targets
Idea posted by: e-Parliament Secretariat
Date posted: 2006-01-04
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