A few weeks ago, during his State of the Union address, President Obama promised that he would soon lay out more of the details on his plan to help facilitate higher fuel efficiency for big trucks. On Tuesday, he delivered. In a speech that was given in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Obama said, “The goal we are setting is ambitious. But these are areas where ambition has worked out really well for us so far. [We want to] keep driving down oil and imports and what we pay at the pump.”
Of course, all of this goes with the recent push to go green here in the United States. It was just back in 2011 that the Obama administration released their first set of fuel efficiency standards. Based on studies done by the White House, it has been projected that the 2011 fuel efficiency plan will save about 530 million barrels of oil (which is more than we annually import from Saudi Arabia) and cut down greenhouse gas emissions by 270 million metric tons.
Obviously, the current plan to improve fuel efficiency standards in big trucks is a worthwhile goal. Currently, semi-trucks make up just 4% of the vehicles on the road. However, they also use up an astounding 25% of all road-fuel use and greenhouse gas coming from transportation!
To help promote this change, the administration is offering tax credits to all companies that are developing heavy duty alternative fuel vehicles, as well as companies that are working to provide these vehicles with resources to fill up their tanks on alternative fuels. So, don’t be surprised if you see more gas stations- especially near interstates- with special accommodations in the near future.
Further adding to the wave of change, Obama has asked Congress to end subsidies for oil and gas companies and help build an Energy Security Trust Fund to fund research and development for advanced vehicle technologies. Many skeptics don’t believe that Obama will ever get Congress to agree with all of this. As we all know, over the course of Obama’s presidency, his lack of leadership and/or inability to communicate with his peers has been the subject of much criticism.
Already, there is dissent amongst conservative minds, concerning Obama’s fuel efficiency plans. Author Erika Johnsen writes, “If pushing automakers, as President Obama promises, will really create jobs and wealth and other miraculous benefits, then why aren’t they already getting to work on these more fuel-efficient trucks themselves?”
The only thing left now is for Obama to turn the country and his peers into believers of this new plan (or as many Conservatives claim, a waste of time). In what has been called his “year of action,” Obama is still confident saying, “Every time someone says you can’t grow the economy while bringing down pollution, it turns out they’ve been wrong. Anybody who says we can’t compete when it comes to clean energy technologies- like solar and wind- they’ve had to eat those words.”