The average annual miles per vehicles in the United States.
The average annual miles per vehicles in the United States.  

Related "Issue of the Day" Entries

President Requests Funding for Transit Construction Projects
Published Monday, May 18th, 2009

According to the Department of Transportation, last week President Obama sent to Congress a request for $1.83 billion in funding for major transit projects, which promises to create jobs and increase both bus and light transit rail options for commuters and travelers. More than $600 million of the funds are for new projects in places such as New Jersey and Colorado, adding up to 39 projects. The announcement detailed 29 projects of which have received federal commitments for funding in previous years; the last 10 are split between new major transit capital construction and the expansion of smaller transit projects.

The emergence of new construction projects for mass transit has come from the presidential initiative to increase the construction and use of alternative transportation to cut emissions and create jobs. Currently, emissions from cars contribute 88.4% of the US share of carbon dioxide, 56% of all carbon monoxide, and 55% of our share of oxides of nitrogen. Currently, the total highway system mileage (distance measured in miles) has increased steadily since 1975 to 4.016 million miles of roads, which handle a steady increase in national miles driven year after year.  However, transit rail miles, which includes commuter rail, has surged and ebbed to settle at 6,972 miles of track in 2006.

Posted in Environment, Transportation | No Comments »

Gas Mileage Wars Rage as EPA Considers State Limits
Published Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Gas mileage wars are heating up between California and Detroit as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held public hearings on the possibility of California imposing its own limits on Fuel-Economy Standards, which until now has been the work of the EPA. This move to reconsider California’s request comes as a campaign promise President Obama made to the state, in that he would ask the EPA to reverse the Bush-era rulings. California wishes to enact 43 miles per gallon on average by 2016, which is far higher than the 35 miles per gallon by 2020 target of the Energy Act of 2007. Thirteen other states have adopted California’s rule and several other states are considering its adoption. Car makers, even the foreign makers, argue that if granted, the new standard will require a totally new engine, which in this economy is unrealistic as cash for innovation and research is just not there.

According to the Department of Transportation, the average miles per gallon for passenger cars is 22.4 mpg and the SUVs, after remaining quite flat, have risen to an average of 18 mpg. The average annual mileage for the approximately 243.3 million cars, trucks and SUVs on the roads was actually steady, until 2006 when US drivers averaged 300 more miles driven in a year. According to the Department of Energy, the US dependance on foreign oil has cost us about $1.9 trillion from 2004 to 2008.

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Alternative Fuel Vehicles Main Issue for Detroit
Published Monday, December 1st, 2008

After being turned down last month, today is the day that lawmakers hear the Big 3’s bailout proposal to congress that deals with the many issues confronting Congress and the Nation.  Some of those issues are the advancement of alternative fuel for the environment, high mileage vehicles to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and engineering excellence to increase product endurance.  These issues are also the focus of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act which gave the Department of Energy the money and mandate to retool and refocus the auto industry to meet new standards such as 35 MPG, which would increase overall fuel efficiency by 40%.

Data regarding U.S. vehicle performance suggest that Americans are driving nearly 2000 miles more and the average consumption of gasoline has remained steady for the last 38 years.  This points to the higher Miles Per Gallon ratings for new cars and trucks.  yet, the Department of Energy’s data states that the average MPG has not risen as dramatically as we might think.  In 38 years, there has been a gradual 6-10 mile per gallon increase in MPG rating for all personnel vehicles, the average today is 26.7mpg.  To tackle the issues above, automakers have increased the percentage of alternative and high mileage vehicles made in the US from 2.9% in 1995 to 13.1% in 2006.

Posted in Energy, Transportation | No Comments »

The Effects of Gas Price Changes
Published Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

The daily average price of a gallon of gasoline has declined to just under $2 after a sustained period of record high prices. The effect of previously high prices has been reductions in driving, increases in the use of mass transit, and purchases of more fuel-efficient vehicles, which have all been steps to improving energy independence.  According to the Department of Transportation, ‘vehicle miles driven‘ (VMD) fell for the 11th month in a row, 4.4% in September alone. The Department of Energy also stated that we consumed 5.5% less gasoline than last year. Yet, the drop in VMD and gasoline consumed has created a gas tax revenue shortfall of $3 Billion in 2008, which means less money for transportation infrasturcture.

The effect of recently lower gas prices is yet to be seen, but the continued economic growth of India, China, and other developing countries around the world, in addition to OPEC and non-OPEC reactions to this price decline, is expected to eventually bring the price of oil back up.

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