Reforming National Transportation Policy
Transportation and energy policy are closely linked. The transportation sector accounts for about one-third of the U.S.'s global warming emissions and over two-thirds of our oil consumption.
The single biggest opportunity to influence U.S. transportation policy is the transportation bill, which expired in September 2009 and is reauthorized every six years. LCV and its state league partners are working with a broad coalition, comprised of national, state and local organizations, to reform the federal transportation bill from a policy largely focused on building and maintaining highways into one with clearly identified national goals that promote smart growth, public and non-motorized transit, and reduce the length we drive. While the ratio of highway to transit funds has traditionally been about 4 to 1, we are working to ensure that a larger portion of the funding goes to transit and other low-carbon transportation options.
LCV will continue to advocate for vital changes to transportation policy and work to ensure that energy and global warming legislation takes positive steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
For more than three decades, the United States has relied on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program to set standards for fuel efficiency for our cars. The program was started in response to the OPEC embargo in the 1970s that drove gas prices up and created shortages. Gasoline-electric hybrids, advanced transmissions and engines, and stronger, lighter, materials all offer opportunities to improve fuel efficiency without compromising safety. Despite these major advances in technology, the CAFE standard remained unchanged for decades. Due to a major loophole that allows SUVs and pickup trucks to follow a weaker standard, over the last two decades average fuel economy for cars on the road actually decreased. In 2007, Congress finally passed legislation to raise fuel efficiency standards from 27.5 to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. This will reduce U.S. oil consumption
by 1.2 million barrels of oil per day by 2020- more than half of what we currently import from the Persian Gulf- saving consumers more than $26 billion and eliminating 206 million metric tons of global warming pollution.
LCV applauded the finalization of new clean cars rules by the EPA and the Department of Transportation in April of 2010. These rules, for the first time, included both mileage standards and reductions in greenhouse gasses, which will help consumers save money while reducing oil consumption and carbon pollution.