Here at the Built by Michigan coalition, we’re working to support Michigan’s electric-vehicle and advanced-battery industries for a lot of good reasons, especially because we know these industries have real potential to strengthen our economy and put Michiganders back to work.
But in addition to the labor and business supporters, our coalition includes environmental groups like the Ecology Center, Clean Water Action and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters who see alternative-fuel vehicles as a way to cut the greenhouse gases that are to blame for climate change.
So we were really pleased to see a recent long-term forecast from the National Research Council that says we could cut both oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks by 80 percent by 2050.
The cars of the future will be lighter and highly efficient, averaging about 74 miles per gallon, and relying on a variety of power sources including traditional internal combustion engines, batteries and hybrids.
But what will it take to make this happen? According to the NRC report, the federal government will need to provide leadership over the next three decades to set higher fuel-economy standards and support research and development of new technologies.
Our friend Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of the Sierra Club's green fleets and electric vehicles initiative, said the report “highlights the need for an aggressive and concerted approach to pursue fuel efficiency and alternative vehicle fuels, like electricity. If we are to avert the worst of climate change, then automakers, government agencies, and companies with large vehicle fleets will need to invest in vehicle technologies that will allow us to slash and then wean ourselves from fossil fuels altogether."
We’re with her. We can get to a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future, here in Michigan and across the globe, if we set ambitious goals, then start taking sensible steps in the right direction.
So let’s get started.
Until next time,
Climate & Energy Program Director
The Ecology Center