clean cars

Celebrating Clean Car Standards’ Five-year Anniversary: Don’t Mess with Success

by Ann Mesnikoff

Five years ago this month, the Obama administration’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency, along with California, issued national Clean Car Standards. These standards were meant to ensure that new cars, minivans and pickups sold between 2017 and 2025 would use less gasoline to travel a mile and emit less climate pollution out of the tailpipe.

Setting standards through 2025 was intended to give the auto industry a clear, long-term direction for innovating and putting technologies to work. When those standards were finalized in 2012 they had the support of the auto industry, labor, and public health groups – and ELPC! Unfortunately, these well-designed standards are threatened by the Trump administration’s assault on Clean Cars. ELPC has been working hard over the last month to oppose this rollback.

When EPA started its attack on tailpipe standards in August, we noted that “If fully implemented, the EPA and DOT’s standards would save families up to $122 billion at the pump, save more than 12 billion barrels of oil and keep 6 billion metric tons of dangerous carbon pollution out of the atmosphere.”

EPA held a public hearing in Washington, D.C., and I made sure EPA heard loud and clear that Clean Car Standards matter in the Midwest. They are a key policy in reducing the threats climate change poses to the Great Lakes and the region. They are driving innovation and job growth in the clean car sector. Across the Midwest, there are a total of 151,714 jobs in 480 facilities associated with making cleaner vehicles, according to a recent Blue Green Alliance and NRDC analysis. Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio top the list.

I reminded EPA that “Every action the United States takes to reduce greenhouse gas pollution is critical. Emissions from the transportation sector now surpass those from power plants and EPA has an obligation under the Clean Air Act to protect public health and welfare – this decisively includes action on greenhouse gases.” ELPC made sure EPA heard from our members and supporters across the Great Lakes states and beyond.

The Department of Transportation has also launched its attack on clean cars. Together with EPA, DOT had made clear that it is looking at weakening standards and diminishing the oil savings, consumer benefits and innovations anticipated when they were issued back in 2012.

The Midwest region alone stands to save approximately 55 billion gallons of oil through 2030 with full implementation of the standards. Again, ELPC made sure that DOT heard from our members and supporters that it should continue with strong Clean Car Standards.

It is not surprising that the auto industry weighed in, complaining that the standards whose fifth anniversary we celebrate this month are now too strong. One of the groups representing a large swath of the auto industry, the Auto Alliance, whose tagline is ironically “driving innovation,” submitted lengthy comments on all the reasons the standards now demand too much of them. The industry is saying it needs more “flexibility” and  “credits” that make it easier for them to comply but actually undermine the goals of oil savings and climate and public health benefits.

Their complaints today are a complete about-face considering the auto industry helped formulate the 2012 standards. And, when DOT and EPA, again with California, compiled a detailed report about how the industry was advancing technologically, they found automakers were adopting fuel-saving technologies at an “unprecedented rate.” And recently, in the Detroit News, the International Council for Clean Transportation, based on their own analysis, confirmed just that — that automakers continue  “to play technology leapfrog at an astounding rate.”

Celebrating Clean Car standards is just as important as fighting to protect them. It gives us an opportunity to remind the current administration’s disrupters that these standards are pushing the industry to innovate and we are all benefitting from the resulting oil savings and reduced pollution. Urging EPA and DOT to keep their standards strong is essential.

At the EPA’s daylong public hearing last month, officials listened to overwhelming support for keeping standards strong. The voices ranged from environmental and public health groups to retired generals and religious leaders. Representatives of today’s youth spoke up too.   I was proud that one of them was my daughter.  She spoke about the future and the cars she and her peers may one day buy. Weakening standards, she told them, would be insane.

Learner Op-Ed: Chicago should shift EV infrastructure into gear

As published in the Chicago Tribune on Thursday, February 18, 2016.

The Chicago Auto Show is a great place to see the automakers’ new car models and futurist concept designs. Clean electric vehicles and hybrids have moved from the sidelines to center stage. General Motors is showcasing its snazzy new Bolt, an EV offering a 200-mile range, more headroom and less pollution. Toyota‘s test-drive track shows off its new RAV4 hybrid crossover SUV; Ford is displaying its attractive C-MAX and Fusion plug-in hybrids; and the CEO of Volvo, in a speech to the Economic Club, focused on low-polluting cars and autonomous “self-driving” vehicles for the future.

How can Chicago tap that excitement and strategically position itself to be a leader as innovative clean car technologies move forward fast? By building an EV infrastructure of smart policies and modern fast-charging stations powered by clean renewable energy for innovative clean car technologies. That will improve mobility, reduce pollution, attract interest and investment in our world-class city and reduce foreign oil use. Here are some key steps forward:

1. Location matters. Let’s continue to rapidly build out the public-private EV charging system throughout Chicago and Illinois at both public spaces and private parking areas. More charging stations in high-traffic locations will encourage more people to buy EVs and worry less about boosting their batteries to keep moving.

As EVs gain longer ranges, there needs to be a dependable charging station infrastructure on the highways between Chicago and Madison, Milwaukee, Des Moines, Detroit, Indianapolis and St. Louis. A robust fast-charging station infrastructure can alleviate drivers’ worries about running out of power. That’s a barrier to new car purchases. Tesla is stepping up. GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Daimler, Honda and other automakers, as well as Federal Express and UPS, should engage and invest to help build out this modern EV charging infrastructure.

2. The power source for charging matters. Let’s build more charging stations powered by solar energy during the day and wind power at night to reduce overall pollution. Power prices are generally highest on hot summer afternoons when the most polluting plants tend to be running on the margin to meet peak electricity demand from cranked-up air conditioners. That’s also the best time to tap solar energy. If charging stations are solar-powered, then the pollution equation works well.

How can we help make that happen? First, planning, zoning and utility regulatory policies that encourage locating charging stations in places with good solar access. Second, the Illinois Commerce Commission should improve “net metering” rates enabling charging stations to sell valuable surplus solar-generated electricity back into the grid.

Electric vehicles cut global warming emissions in half compared to similar gas cars

Wind power is plentiful and provides “no pollution, no fuel cost” energy. Because Illinois has surplus wind power and nuclear plants running at night, off-peak market prices are often very low. Nighttime EV charging helps utilities level out energy use. We all gain environmental quality benefits if EVs charge when the power equation results in less pollution.

Driving a clean-tech electric vehicle doesn’t help the environment as much if it’s charged by electricity generated by highly polluting coal plants. Clean renewable energy should power clean tech transportation.

3. Tax incentives matter. Stable, consistent incentives help build the market and support manufacturing, which needs predictability for transitioning to new clean car technologies. Let’s avoid the “stop-and-start” tax credits that, until recently, hampered wind power. That uncertainty deterred investment and held back development. Let’s keep the EV tax incentives steady.

One of President Barack Obama’s biggest successes has been re-energizing the American auto industry and spurring manufacturers to build clean cars for the future. Auto manufacturers took up that challenge. They tapped American ingenuity and creativity to develop new all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars that excite buyers and pollute less.

The Chicago Auto Show showcases many electric vehicles — large and small, with different price points and features that appeal to many new car buyers. Let’s get our EV policies and infrastructure right to charge into the future.

Howard A. Learner is the executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Midwest’s leading environmental and economic development advocacy organization.

 

ELPC 2015: What We’ve Achieved, and What’s Next

This is a transformational year for the environment. ELPC is seizing strategic opportunities for progress on the big issues. We’re achieving strong results in these politically gridlocked times.

First, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan caps two decades of sustained advocacy by ELPC and many environmental and public health colleagues backed by sound scientific findings. The U.S. is now stepping up as a global leader advancing clean energy solutions to reduce carbon pollution.

Second, solar energy, wind power and innovative energy efficiency technologies are poised to transform the electricity market just as wireless transformed telecommunications, changing the ways that we live and work. ELPC is driving new policies to accelerate distributed Midwest solar energy installations and install one million new smart thermostats in Illinois.

Third, ELPC’s successful litigation to stop the fiscal folly Illiana Tollway, protect the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and promote sound regional planning is transforming transportation policy to prioritize public transit and modern regional rail instead of politically clouted boondoggles. ELPC attorneys are winning in both the court of law and the court of public opinion.

ELPC is effective. Our teams of expert public interest attorneys, M.B.A.s, policy advocates and communications specialists, combined with the ELPC Science Advisory Council, play to win and know how to get things done.  ELPC is truly making a difference for a better world.

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Your support has helped ELPC advance a cleaner renewable energy mix for the Midwest, accelerate cleaner transportation, and clean up the rivers and great lakes that we all care about. Please consider ELPC’s results and make a financial contribution to support our successful program work in 2016:

 

Ditching the Illiana Tollway Boondoggle and Protecting the Remarkable Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Midewin_Illiana_250x330The proposed new Illiana Tollway is a fiscal folly, undermines sound regional planning and would harm wildlife and ecological values in the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. On June 16th, Federal District Court Judge Jorge Alonso granted Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and declared that the federal and state transportation agencies’ approval of the Tier 1 final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision “for the proposed new Illiana Expressway was arbitrary and capricious and in violation of NEPA.” This is a tremendous litigation victory for ELPC’s public interest attorneys on behalf of our clients Midewin Heritage Association, Openlands and Sierra Club.

More than a dozen newspapers across Illinois have editorialized against the Illiana “road to nowhere” during the state’s fiscal crisis and when there are much higher priorities for limited transportation infrastructure funds to enable badly-needed fixes for transit and commuter rail, intercity higher-speed rail, and highway and bridge repairs.

ELPC’s legal, economic and media advocacy and our clients’ public engagement have changed the proposed new boondoggle Illiana Tollway from a “done deal” to “terminal life support.” It’s time for Governor Rauner and Illinois’ political leadership to finally ditch the Illiana once and for all. ELPC is working hard in the federal and state courts, and in the courts of public opinion, to bring the proposed Illiana Tollway to its well-deserved end.

 

Installing One Million Smart Thermostats in Illinois – A National Model

NestThermostat_250x330ELPC and Commonwealth Edison worked together creating an ambitious new program to install one million new smart thermostats in Illinois homes and small businesses over the next five years. U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy joined us for the October 8th public announcement. This leading-edge initiative provides rebates up to $120, using the consumer-funded Energy Efficiency Performance Standards program resources, for the new generation of Ecobee, Nest and Honeywell thermostats that learn customer behavior and adjust cooling and heating without complicated programming. These “smart thermostats” can save consumers 15%-25% from their heating and cooling costs and reduce pollution. Once the Illinois program is off the ground, ELPC plans to replicate it in more Midwestern states. This innovative technology is a winner.

 

Accelerating Solar Energy in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota

SolarShedd_250x330Solar energy installations in the Midwest grew by 70% last year, creating jobs, new businesses and economic growth. However, the coal industry and some electric utilities are seeking to impose regulatory barriers to protect their polluting power plants and their electricity monopolies. ELPC is working to advance sound policies that drive clean solar energy forward and remove regulatory barriers to development.

In Illinois, ELPC was instrumental in helping enact and then design the state’s first $30 million distributed solar generation procurement.

In Iowa, ELPC successfully repelled Interstate Power & Light’s attempt to impose new barriers to solar development after we won a major case before the Iowa Supreme Court to remove utility-imposed barriers to conventional third-party financing arrangements for solar energy development projects.

In Minnesota and Michigan, ELPC is making steady progress with our state-based partners to design new distributed solar programs and strategies. We’re moving forward at this transformational time to accelerate solar energy development for a cleaner energy future. ELPC is pro-technological innovation, pro-competition and pro-removing regulatory barriers to solar.

 

Keeping the Great Lakes and Midwest Rivers Clean

LakeMichiganMichigan-sidebarThere are two main types of water pollution – from a single, identifiable “point” source and the “non-point” flows from farms, ranches and streets. ELPC is working on both.

This is the first year that the SS Badger car ferry did not dump about 1,000,000 pounds of toxic coal ash into Lake Michigan. The ship now has a new coal ash containment system thanks to an effective advocacy campaign led by ELPC with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and our good colleagues. ELPC’s work to stop the SS Badger from polluting the drinking water supplies for 42 million people is a strong precedent that reinforces that it’s no longer acceptable to dump toxic pollution in our Great Lakes.

ELPC also brought together more than 60 scientists and policymakers for our second annual Great Lakes Science-Policy Confluence Conference to discuss solutions to mitigate “nutrient pollution” – agricultural runoff that helped cause toxic blue-green algae blooms in Western Lake Erie. In summer 2014, 500,000 people in the Toledo area were without safe drinking water supplies for 72 hours. That’s not acceptable. ELPC is stepping up our advocacy for the necessary actions to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from agricultural operations that caused the toxic algae and contaminated water supplies.

ELPC continues our Mississippi River protection legal leadership, and we convened a new collaboration of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia groups for coordinated multi-state action to help clean up the Ohio River, considered by some to be America’s most polluted waterway.

 

ELPC Is Accelerating the Next Generation of Sustainable Transportation

AmtrakELPC is a recognized leader in advancing the Midwest high-speed rail network, which will improve mobility, reduce pollution, create jobs and pull together the regional economy. We are working to accelerate new clean cars and trucks, which use modern technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce pollution.

This year, I was honored to be asked by Amtrak’s CEO to serve on a four-member Blue Ribbon Panel analyzing and recommending strategies and better practices to increase fluidity and reduce congestion for higher-speed passenger rail and freight rail in the “Chicago Gateway” leading to St. Louis, Detroit and the East Coast.

 

 

Making the Clean Power Plan Standards Work Well

coal_250x330This is the federal cornerstone for America’s commitment to climate change solutions. ELPC is working with many business, environmental, health and faith-based allies to overcome the coal industry’s and certain politicians’ litigation efforts to stall progress, and to effectively implement state climate solution action plans in the Midwest states. Overall, ELPC is advancing new policies to drive energy markets with technological innovations that can change the world.

 

 

 

 

ELPC believes in the core principle that environmental progress and economic growth can be achieved together, and we put that sustainability principle into practice every day. ELPC’s solutions-focused strategies engage diverse partners and seize opportunities to accelerate clean energy development and clean transportation technologies, protect clean air and clean water, and preserve the Midwest’s wild and natural places.

ELPC’s multidisciplinary staff teams of public interest attorneys, M.B.A.s, policy experts and communications specialists are fully engaged across the Midwest, and we’re making progress. It isn’t easy; real change never is. We don’t give up. Let’s keep working together to win.

Thank you for engaging and making a contribution to support ELPC’s work to harness this change and achieve a brighter future.

 

ELPC’s New Step-by-Step Guide to Home EV Charging

Most electric vehicle (EV) owners install a home-charging station in their garage — basically, the same type of 240-volt outlet used for clothes dryers and other major household appliances. To ensure a smooth EV ownership experience, ELPC has published a step-by-step guide to home installation on our dedicated web tool, www.PlugInChicagoMetro.org. We’ll walk you through selecting a charger, notifying your utility, hiring an electrician, obtaining a permit, and saving money through rebates and real-time pricing. Check it out!

Learner Discusses Illinois Transportation Priorities in Crain’s Chicago Business

There’s a quiet revolution in car use, driving patterns and car technologies that fundamentally will change transportation needs, infrastructure investments and traditional financing structures. As gas tax revenues decline, we need to prioritize better and make smart choices.

Let’s prioritize transit and rail, which are gaining passengers, and “fix it first” when it comes to highways and bridges. The Chicago Transit Authority’s heavily used Red Line badly needs modernization. The abrupt closure of the Red Line’s Grand Avenue bridge
downtown reflected worse-than-expected deterioration. Engineering groups report that bridges across Illinois badly need repair.

So why are transportation funds becoming so constrained? Because people are driving less with fewer cars that are more fuel-efficient and thus use less gas. There’s more transit use and biking as more people move into cities. The combined impacts: lower gas tax revenues for all levels of government. Future mobility and transportation efficiency requires recognizing these changes and adjusting planning to fit the new reality.

Continue reading Crain’s Chicago Business.

Tesla Unveils Superchargers in Normal, IL

June 26, 2013 — Tesla unveiled a new charging station that can charge up to four Tesla Model S vehicles at the Normal, IL, Uptown Station parking garage. This station is part of a nationwide charging station network that Tesla announced in May 2013 and that the company is fully funding. According to a company spokesperson, the aim of the network is to make chargers available on well-traveled routes, every 80-100 miles in between metro areas.

The Tesla Model S has an EPA-estimated range of 200+ miles, and “super-chargers” like those unveiled in Normal this week can re-charge the cars in about 40 minutes — or, if preferred, about 3 hours worth of driving in just 20 minutes. The direct-current, or DC, charge is much more powerful than typical 120- or 240-volt outlets found in most homes.

Read more about Tesla’s Superchargers.

Normal’s Uptown Station, like other super-charger locations, is strategically located near shopping and dining opportunities to encourage drivers to spend time and money at local businesses while their car is “at the pump.” While only the Tesla Model S can use these new chargers, there are more than 50 chargers in the Bloomington-Normal area — including 6 in the same parking structure — that can be used by any electric vehicle. According to the Bloomginton Pantagraph, there are more than 200 electric vehicles registered in the Twin Cities. Statewide, there are more than 500 Tesla owners.

To learn more about electric vehicles, visit ELPC’s dedicated website, www.PlugInChicagoMetro.org.

 

Detroit Free Press: “Howard Learner Praised the New Standards”

EPA takes aim at auto emissions, sulfur in gas

By Todd Spangler

WASHINGTON – A move by federal regulators today to cut the sulfur level in gasoline by more than 60% is drawing ire from oil companies but should help automakers hit future fuel economy standards by enabling technology that burns cleaner fuel.

Following up on talks with automakers, refiners and state officials, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules for vehicles and gasoline that cuts emissions of a range of pollutants, including smog-forming compounds and nitrogen oxides. The new standards would be phased in between 2017 and 2025 – by which time the fleet of new cars and light-duty trucks is expected to meet a fuel economy standard of 54.5 miles per gallon under previously announced rules.

The new program – which is expected to be finalized after a 30-day comment period – could end up adding about 1-cent per gallon of gasoline by the time the new standards are fully phased in, though the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association fighting the new rule, said it could lead to gas prices increasing by as much as 9 cents a gallon. The cost for new technology on vehicles designed to the new standard is expected to be about $130 per car or truck.

The EPA added, however, that by 2030 the change is expected to have prevented up to 2,400 premature deaths from respiratory ailments, 23,000 cases of illnesses in children and 1.8 million lost school and work days.

“The Obama administration has taken a series of steps to reinvigorate the auto industry and ensure that the cars of tomorrow are cleaner, more efficient and saving drivers money at the pump and these common-sense cleaner fuels and cars standards are another example of how we can protect the environment and public health in an affordable and practical way,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe.

The proposed standards bring American fuel standards in line with those in several European counties, Japan and South Korea. They also are in line with California’s clean cars and fuels program changes announced last year, meanign that automakes will be able to sell the same models in all 50 states.

The Alliance of Auto Manufacturers – a Washington-based industry group that includes General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and others – released a statement saying clean-burning technnologies needed to hit the more challenging fuel economy standards require “cleaner, low-sulfur fuels similar to those available today in Europe and Asia.” The group added it would try to ensure that the rule ultimately adopted is entirely in concert with California’s program, “eliminating differing timelines, regulatory procedures and test methods.”

Differences – some of which still need to be worked out – could result in added costs to buyers, the group said.

At the Environmental Law & Policy Center, executive director Howard Learner praised the new standards, saying they “combine with the earlier clean car standards to spur technological innovations that reduce pollution in the air we breathe and improve vehicle efficiency.”

Luke Tonachel, senior vehicles analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the standards will “save lives, save money and clean up our air – all at a minimal cost.”

“Big Oil companies want us to believe these benefits aren’t worth it. But that’s because they care about profits above all else,” he added.

Bob Greco, an official with the American Petroleum Institute, argued that the change is part of a “tsunami of federal regulations coming out of EPA that could put upward pressure on gasoline prices.”

“Consumers care about the price of fuel, and our government should not be adding unnecessary regulations that raise manufacturing costs, especially when there are no proven environmental benefits. We should not pile on new regulations when existing regulations are working,” he said.

Available at http://www.freep.com/article/20130329/BUSINESS01/130329014/EPA-taking-aim-at-auto-emissions-sulfur-in-gas

 

PlugInChicagoMetro.org – New Electric Car Online Tool Helps Educate Chicago-Area Consumers

CHICAGO – The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) has launched PlugInChicagoMetro.org, a new tool to help educate consumers about electric cars available in the Chicagoland area in 2012. The interactive site includes comparative information about the seven makes/models of plug-in electric cars that are or will soon be available for purchase in the region, as well as information about electric rates, charging options, tax incentives, and other resources.

“Purchasing any car requires thoughtful consiaderation of many variables – on brand, color, price – and purchasing an electric car can involve an extra layer of research,” said Madeleine Weil, Senior Policy Advocate at ELPC. “PlugInChicagoMetro.org can help consumers by providing a central resource of information about the differences, benefits and decisions involved in being an electric car owner here in Chicago and the suburbs.”

ELPC is working to advance policies that support electric cars and public charging infrastructure in Chicago and the Midwest. “Electric and hybrid cars reduce our dependence on foreign oil, produce less pollution than conventional cars, and can help consumers save money at the gas pump,” said ELPC Executive Director Howard Learner. “We should also seize the opportunities to grow the clean car jobs of the future in the Midwest auto industry.”

According to Learner, government support for public charging stations powered by clean wind and solar power, entrepreneurial ingenuity in the business community and low-cost power available for nighttime charging are just some of the ingredients that will make Chicago a market leader. “The Chicago area can become one of the nation’s leading markets for these new clean electric, natural gas and hybrid vehicles,” he said.

More and more consumers are becoming interested in learning about electric vehicles. “There’s a lot of information about electric cars out there – from dealers selling a particular model, from ‘car guys’ obsessed with the innovative technology, from critics who will scrutinize any and all changes to the status quo – but we’re not any of those people,” Weil added. “We realize purchasing a car is a personal decision. We just want to provide a forum to help Chicago-area consumers make car-buying decisions for themselves and their families.”

For more information about electric vehicles available in the Midwest in 2012, please go to www.PlugInChicagoMetro.org.

Cleaner Cars, Less Reliance on Oil, Better Mileage, More Jobs, Less Pollution and More Savings at the Pump

Cleaner Cars, Less Reliance on Oil, Better Mileage, More Jobs, Less Pollution and More Savings at the Pump

The BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has awakened many Americans to the dangers of our addiction to oil. The latest polls show that most Americans want to find cleaner and safer ways to power their cars and heat their homes. The good news is that a shift to more fuel efficient cars and trucks will both improve the environment and boost our economy.

Under the new federal greenhouse gas reduction and fuel economy standards that were finalized in Spring, the average fuel economy for passenger cars will increase from 27.5 mpg in 2009 to 37.8 mpg by 2016 – an improvement of almost 40 percent. Building cleaner cars will reduce lifetime greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles produced between 2012 and 2016 by more than 655 million tons. That’s a big step forward.

The shift toward cleaner cars provides an opportunity for new manufacturing centers and product lines in Indiana, as automakers develop more efficient technologies and better pollution controls. In Elkhart, for example, former RV builders will now be manufacturing electric vehicles for Think motors.  Think is planning to produce about 20,000 vehicles annually in Elkhart by 2013.  Likewise, just outside of Indianapolis, EnerDel will soon employ up to 1,400 people manufacturing batteries for electric vehicle.

Indiana’s pool of highly trained autoworkers will be building the cars – and the economy – of the future.  These good manufacturing jobs are “green jobs” for our future.

The new federal technology-forcing and innovation-encouraging standards for the cars of the future are expected to save as much as 11.6 billion gallons of gasoline per year by 2016. That’s equivalent to half the oil that the U.S. imports from Saudi Arabia each year. That reduction in gasoline purchases will save consumers around $35 billion annually at the pump if gas costs $3 per gallon.

The transition to cleaner cars should be accompanied by deploying modern technologies to clean up and diversify our electricity generating sources. Driving an electric car doesn’t help clean up the environment as much if it’s charged by electricity generated by older, highly-polluting coal plants.  We can and should use clean power to charge plug-in hybrids and other electric vehicles.  Let’s build charging stations powered mostly by wind and solar energy

Solar energy is most available on the hot, sunny afternoons when power market prices are highest and the power is needed most. If electric vehicle charging stations are powered by solar, the pollution equation works well. Let’s try to locate charging stations in places where there is good solar access. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and the Legislature should also adopt robust “net metering” rates and standards for the charging stations to sell valuable solar-generated power back into the grid when it is not fully used for charging cars.

Indiana can and should be a leader in gaining the jobs of the future from building new, cleaner cars that increase our energy independence, reduce pollution and save us money at the pump. Getting cleaner, more efficient cars on the roads is a key step forward for reducing our oil dependence. As the BP oil spill disaster unfortunately reminds us daily, business as usual is not the right path for our economy and environment.  Let’s be smarter and do better.

Clean Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency
Clean Transportation

Clean Buildings

Learn more about global warming
and how you can make a difference
at GlobalWarmingsolutions.org, our
comprehensive website focused on
climate change in the Midwest.

Clean Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency

About one-third of our country’s global warming pollution comes from generating electric power. How we produce that power, and how much we generate, has a profound impact on global warming. ELPC is a leader in the Midwest working to:

  • Create Markets for Renewable Energy. Renewable energy resources such as wind and solar are the fuel of the future, and passage of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in every Midwestern state is a critical step to building a clean energy future.
  • Clean Up Dirty Coal Plants. The Midwest still depends on coal-fired power plants for more than 75% of its electrical power. Coal plants are among the dirtiest sources of power. ELPC is working to bring these older plants up to modern pollution control standards.
  • Promote Farm Energy. Producing energy from biofuels, biogas, wind power, and solar energy can reduce our demand for foreign oil, create jobs in America’s heartland, and reduce carbon pollution.

Clean Transportation

Motor vehicles consume almost 75% of the oil we use and produce about 26% of our global warming pollution. ELPC is a leader in the Midwest working to:

  • Advance High-Speed Rail. High-speed trains in the Midwest would be three times as energy efficient as cars and six times as energy efficient as planes. Choosing rail travel over driving or flying will decrease our dependence on foreign oil and reduce air pollution that causes global warming and harms public health.
  • Create a Market for Cleaner Cars and Electric Cars. Under new federal standards, average fuel economy for passenger cars will increase from 27.5 mpg in 2009 to 37.8 mpg by 2016 to 54.5 mpg by 2025. What’s more, electric vehicles are next generation clean cars — with smart strategies and the right locations, these vehicles present an exciting opportunity to reduce air pollution, save drivers up to $1,200 per year on gasoline, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
  • Oppose Wasteful Highway Spending. ELPC partners with local environmental groups to oppose unnecessary highway projects, such as I-69 in Indiana, which promote sprawl and encourage more fuel consumption.

Clean Buildings

Heating, cooling, and lighting buildings is a major source of global warming pollution. ELPC is a leader in the Midwest working to:

  • Implement Energy Efficient Building Codes. Doing energy efficiency “right” at the new construction and major rehab stage is by far the most cost-effective time to make these pro-environmental and energy cost reduction investments. ELPC was instrumental in getting a commercial energy efficiency building code passed in Illinois in 2004 and a residential energy efficient building code in Illinois in 2009. In 2012, ELPC negotiated language with the Homebuilders’ Association that preserved the Code’s automatic 3-year update cycle and ensured that Illinois will be among the first states in the nation to adopt the 2012 International Energy Efficiency Code.
  • Demonstrate Modern, Sustainable Green Design. In 2010, ELPC moved into a state-of-the-art green office that combines open design and modern technology. It features efficient lighting, plumbing, heating and cooling, and toxic-free paints and adhesives. ELPC also chose affordable, off-the-shelf products that help demonstrate the practicality of green offices.

ELPC’s Founding Vision is Becoming Today’s Sustainability Reality

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