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Impact of emission caps: costlier cars that will be cheaper to drive

09 04 10 - 03:50 By Laurent Belsie


The US government's new limits on cars' greenhouse-gas emissions represent a landmark for the environment. For consumers, they're more of a mixed bag financially.

Cars and light trucks will cost more starting in 2012. But what consumers pay up front, they'll more than make up in fuel efficiency, according to the government.

Here's how it adds up: Suppose you buy the average 2016 model, when the strictest emissions standards kick in. The extra technology needed to meet those standards will cost an average $869 for a car or $1,098 for a light truck. So your new vehicle will cost about $1,000 more than it otherwise would.

But that vehicle will be cheaper to drive. So at at average 35.5 miles per gallon, you would save enough in fuel over the first three years to make up for the extra up front cost, according to calculations by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Even if you finance a car or truck on a five-year, 60-month loan, you would still save $130 to $180 more in fuel per year than you would pay out in monthly payments to finance the extra $950 cost, the DOT and the EPA figure.

Over the life of the vehicle, you should save $4,000 in fuel. So even with the extra $1,000 in cost, the average driver comes out $3,000 ahead.

To supporters of the legislation, this is a great deal.

"You will be saving more money on gas the day you drive off the lot," says David Friedman, research director of the vehicles program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington.

"It's true that these vehicles cost more up front," he adds. But it's better to spend that money on technology that employs American workers than on oil that comes from foreign nations.

The challenge is that consumers may not see it that way, counters Douglas Greenhaus, director of environment, health, and safety for the National Automobile Dealers Association in McLean, Va.

"Payment borrowers are sensitive to the monthly payment of the car," he says. "They don't think in terms of payback."

So if an extra $1,000 convinces a wide swath of consumers not to buy a new car, then the financial and environmental benefits of the new greenhouse-gas standards will be trimmed -- or at least delayed.

"Unless people buy these vehicles, none of the policy benefits will be achieved," Mr. Greenhaus says. Used tags: , , , , , ,
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Building a Continental Renewable Super Grid

Tuesday 04 May 2010 at 10:03 pm Building a Continental Renewable Super Grid



By Roy Morrison



As the planet warms and the economy cools, renewable resources are emerging as a realistic means to solve both problems in a timely fashion. Advocates of renewable energy want trillions of dollars spent in the coming decades on a continental-scale smart grid that will slash global greenhouse gas emissions and turn society toward a prosperous and ecological future.

How can we build such a grid? What are the next steps? Are we trapped in a future of false promises on clean coal, more nuclear proliferation, resource wars for oil, rising pollution, and business as usual? more

Last chance for climate change legislation?

Thursday 29 April 2010 at 8:41 pm Last chance for climate change legislation?


By Brad Knickerbocker,


It's crunch time for climate change legislation on Capitol Hill, and the bill to be introduced Monday could be the last chance for passage before lawmakers face voters this fall.

The bill coauthored by Sens. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts, Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina, and Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut has as its main goal a 17 percent reduction in US greenhouse gas emissions (mainly carbon dioxide) from 2005 levels in 10 years and 80 percent by 2050.

It has easier requirements on emissions caps for power plants and other major contributors of greenhouse gases - easier than previous legislative proposals. It also has incentives to build new nuclear power plants. There are also provisions for offshore oil drilling.

The measure pleases no one entirely. more

Obama's gambit to marry US policies on environment and energy

Monday 19 April 2010 at 11:18 am By Mark Clayton


True, America is still guzzling fossil fuels. But since taking office just over a year ago, President Obama has quietly set the nation's energy policy on a new course.

Even as health care dominated the news, Obama energy czar Carol Browner - working with the departments of Interior, Energy, and Transportation - has established a new, unified energy-and-environment policy. But whether this focus on renewable power and energy security can succeed depends largely on whether Congress approves climate-energy legislation that puts a price on carbon emissions, energy experts say. more

Waste-hating freegans Dumpster dive for food

Sunday 18 April 2010 at 9:24 pm Waste-hating freegans Dumpster dive for food



By Megan McCourt




Washington - One night as Madeline Nelson was foraging through a Whole Foods Dumpster in Manhattan, a man gave her a look of pity and held out a dollar bill. That wasn't what she was looking for.

Nelson, 54, was searching for good-quality food that had been tossed from the store's stocks of slightly wilted produce, day-old bread and dented canned goods.

Nelson is a freegan - a mash-up of "free" and "vegan." more

Auto emissions: New greenhouse gas caps raise gas mileage standards

Friday 09 April 2010 at 03:59 am By Mark Clayton,




The nation's first-ever law requiring a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions goes into effect today, mandating that automakers progressively chop the amount of tail-pipe gases emitted from US cars.

The first cars to be affected by the law will be automakers' 2012 lines. By 2016, model year greenhouse gas emissions must not exceed an average of 8.8 ounces per mile - a 21 percent reduction from today's levels. To get there, vehicles' gas mileage will need to achieve on average 35.5 miles per gallon fleet wide - a 40 percent improvement from current levels. more

Impact of emission caps: costlier cars that will be cheaper to drive

Friday 09 April 2010 at 03:50 am By Laurent Belsie


The US government's new limits on cars' greenhouse-gas emissions represent a landmark for the environment. For consumers, they're more of a mixed bag financially.

Cars and light trucks will cost more starting in 2012. But what consumers pay up front, they'll more than make up in fuel efficiency, according to the government.

Here's how it adds up: Suppose you buy the average 2016 model, when the strictest emissions standards kick in. The extra technology needed to meet those standards will cost an average $869 for a car or $1,098 for a light truck. So your new vehicle will cost about $1,000 more than it otherwise would.

But that vehicle will be cheaper to drive. So at at average 35.5 miles per gallon, you would save enough in fuel over the first three years to make up for the extra up front cost, according to calculations by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). more

A guide to choosing a solar water pump

Thursday 01 April 2010 at 12:37 pm A guide to choosing a solar water pump


AEN News




Washington - Research scientists with the Agricultural Research Service have published a guide to choosing a solar water pump for remote applications and has provided readers access to that valuable information.

For this guide, agricultural engineer Brian Vick and colleagues drew on the ARS Conservation and Production Research Laboratory's 31 years of testing stand-alone water pumps. The laboratory is located near Bushland, Texas.

Vick found that for pumps with motors rated less than 1,500 watts, solar is usually the best choice. With current technology and costs, wind power or a hybrid wind/solar pump is usually best for power needs of 1,500 watts or more. more

Governors prod Washington on renewable energy

Friday 19 March 2010 at 03:50 am Governors prod Washington on renewable energy


By Mark Clayton




A group of 29 state governors has for the first time submitted to the White House and Congress a list of recommendations to implement renewable energy nationwide. The move reveals growing impatience with Washington's inability to put forward a new energy-climate bill to stimulate growth of solar and wind industry jobs. more

Number of storms may drop, but more could be intense, study says

Saturday 06 March 2010 at 08:30 am By Peter N. Spotts


The number of hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical storms globally is likely to either fall or remain flat over the course of the 21st century. But an increasing proportion of the storms are likely to hit the highest levels of intensity because of the projected effects of global warming, an international team of scientists concludes. more

Is Punxsutawney Phil responding to global warming?

Thursday 04 February 2010 at 09:55 am Is Punxsutawney Phil responding to global warming?


By Eoin O'Carroll


As dawn broke on Monday morning, officials in cities and towns across the United States and Canada, engaged in an annual ritual of attempting to predict the weather by harassing a marmot.

According to the website of the Punxsutawney (Pa.) Groundhog Club, the most famous of these marmots, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his burrow (or more accurately, was dragged out of a box), surveyed the 13,000-person crowd that had gathered to see him, and uttered something in the obscure language of Groundhogese to Club President Bill Cooper, who then proclaimed that the large rodent had seen his shadow and we would therefore be getting six more weeks of winter. more
 

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