What federal policies can help the transportation sector wean itself off oil?
Roughly a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from the use of gasoline in cars, trucks and airplanes, a statistic the Obama administration and Congress are working to reduce. EPA is rolling out draft rules for the first-ever fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks, along with new standards for light-duty vehicles. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is backing legislation to promote electric cars and natural-gas-fueled trucks; he is setting up a vote during this fall's lame-duck session. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who could be the next top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says he intends to focus next year on measures that promote electric vehicle technology and encourage 18-wheelers to use natural gas.
Are these the right standards and policies to lessen transportation's reliance on oil? What other measures should Congress consider? Should transportation be taken in isolation, without attempts to cut emissions from manufacturing and electric power plants, which account for more than 50 percent of U.S. emissions? How do the government's efforts factor into the larger fight against climate change?