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Gas Price Conundrum: Think Outside the Barrel

Gas Price Conundrum: Think Outside the Barrel


Jennifer M. Granholm

Author(s) Description

Jennifer M. Granholm is the former governor of Michigan and a senior adviser to the Pew Clean Energy Program.

The week of May 16th, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, senior advisor to the Pew Clean Energy Program, will moderate NationalJournal.com's Energy & Environment Expert Blog. She asks about the role electric and hybrid cars can play in the policy discussion prompted by high gasoline prices.

With gasoline prices high, federal policymakers are actively debating how to protect consumers from climbing costs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The challenge is significant, as transportation accounts for 70 percent of the nation's petroleum use.

Some policymakers propose ending tax incentives for petroleum companies that are reporting record profits and investing in advanced vehicle technologies and fuels. Others believe increasing production of domestic oil sources is the best way to combat unstable prices. Unfortunately, even with national production increasing 11 percent in the past two years (making the United States a net exporter), gas prices are hovering around $4 per gallon.

As the former governor of Michigan, I know firsthand the negative effect higher gas prices can have on citizens and the nation's auto industry. What is clear is that the only way to immediately blunt the effects of rising fuel costs is to consume less.

By September, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with the California Air Resources Board, will release the proposed rule for mile-per-gallon standards for auto fleets, model years 2017-2025. They are considering a range of 47-62 mpg, reflecting an annual fuel efficiency increase of 3-6 percent.

If the easiest way to diminish anxiety at the pump is to make cars go farther on a tank of gas, shouldn't we pursue the highest possible standard? What role can hybrids and electric vehicles play in reducing emissions and improving transportation efficiencies?

Visit NationalJournal.com to read expert responses to Governor Granholm's questions.


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