Politics and Exhaust Gases

Gary S. Vasilash

Anyone who watched the then-executives of the then-Big Three (OK, one is still standing, exec-wise and Big-wise) testify to Congress back in late 2008 knows that when it comes to being wired into the political scene, Auto wasn’t. Had they spent more time reading Politico rather than Motor Trend they might have been a bit better off.

One wonders whether that’s still the case.

That is, John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute and a professor of practice at the School of Natural Resources and Environment, has determined that by and large, automakers are doing a good job when it comes to reducing emissions, but there are other factors that ought to be doing a better job.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV –  high tech electric city car priced below $25,000.

2014 Chevy Spark EV

DeCicco noted, “Gasoline vehicle efficiency is already improving by nearly 4% per year, while emissions from U.S. electric power generation are not even declining by 1% per year.”

He added, “If you think that electric cars will be needed someday, you first have to greatly cut carbon emissions from power generation. If you think that biofuels are going to be important, then you need to remove more carbon from the air at farms or forests than we’re already doing today.”

Seems like Auto is doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to cleaning up its contributions to emissions in the atmosphere while other sectors are not getting the same level of, ah, persuasion to do the same.

Could it simply be that Energy and Agriculture simply do a better job on Capitol Hill?