"Tough" and "muscular" ... I feel like pumping iron!
President Obama on Tuesday ordered the development of tough new fuel standards for the nation’s fleet of heavy-duty trucks as part of what aides say will be an increasingly muscular and unilateral campaign to tackle climate change through the use of the president’s executive power.
The new regulations, to be drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department by March 2015 and completed a year later so they are in place before Mr. Obama leaves office, are the latest in a series of actions intended to cut back on greenhouse gases without the sort of comprehensive legislation the president failed to push through Congress in his first term.
The limits on greenhouse gas pollution from trucks would combine with previous rules requiring passenger cars and light trucks to burn fuel more efficiently and pending rules to limit the carbon emissions of power plants. Cumulatively, experts said the à la carte approach should enable Mr. Obama to meet his target of cutting carbon pollution in the United States by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. But they said he would still be far short of his goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
Something like this is becoming a standard refrain:
Incentive-based environmental policy can be superior to environmental standards. Greater fuel economy encourages driving more miles. With gas prices below some threshold, the payback period on high priced fuel efficient cars is too far in the future for even fully rational consumers to think they are a good deal. Implementation of a higher gas tax would provide an incentive for consumers to purchase fuel efficient cars and also reduce miles driven.
On the other hand, I'm learning that the EPA is designing fuel economy standards to be more flexible, increasing their efficiency.