Nobel Expert: Car Industry Can Reach, Exceed New Standards
Davis California - UC Davis auto fuels authority Daniel Sperling says that despite years of automakers "kicking and screaming" about the new mileage standards that Congress set this month, the industry should be able to reach -- even exceed -- 35 mpg by 2020.
"A key step is for consumers and automakers to consign the horsepower race to history," Sperling said. "People want more fuel-efficient vehicles that are good for the world and good for the environment, and we have the ability to make those cars and trucks now."
Technology that exists or is coming soon includes:
* Hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids, with electric capabilities and combustion engines;
* Electric vehicles;
* Cleaner diesel engines;
* Continuously variable transmissions;
* Engines that turn off, instead of idling, when the vehicle is stopped;
* Cylinders that turn off when less horsepower is needed.
Sperling is director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis (ITS-Davis), co-author of California's new Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and is a member of the California Air Resources Board. He testified this year at the auto industry's federal challenge of Vermont law and California's state greenhouse gas standards, and the EPA hearing on California's request for a waiver of those same standards.
Earlier this month, Sperling shared in the Nobel Peace Prize given to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former Vice President Al Gore. He was a lead author for the transport chapter of the IPCC's most recent climate-change report.