Speeches and Presentations

Remarks: Welcome to NHTSA’s Earth Day

Dr. Mark R. Rosekind , NHTSA Administrator

Thursday, April 21, 2016 | Washington, D.C.

Mark R. Rosekind, Ph.D.
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Washington, D.C.
As Prepared for Delivery

Welcome and thank you for attending the Fourth Annual Advanced Fuel-Efficiency Vehicle Showcase. I’d also like to thank the many automakers who provided vehicles for today’s event.

As you may know the transportation sector accounts for roughly 28 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Only the generation of electricity ranks higher. So those of us here today at the Showcase understand well the special responsibility we in the transportation sector bear in securing our future against the threat of climate change.

President Obama has made climate change a top priority of his Administration, pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

As President Obama said in his second inaugural, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

So, what is DOT doing to meet the goal of reducing transportation-related carbon emissions?

At NHTSA, that means CAFE. No, not a place to buy a fancy cup of coffee, but Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

We’ve already set the Nation on a path to the toughest fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks in U.S. history. A path that will lead to a near doubling in new vehicle fuel economy by 2025, saving the average driver more than $8,000 in fuel costs while eliminating 6 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Six billion tons — that is more than the U.S. emits in an entire year.

The Light Duty CAFE program also includes targeted incentives to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies to dramatically improve vehicle performance, including:

  • Incentives for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles;
  • Incentives for hybrid technologies for large pickups and for other technologies that achieve high fuel-economy levels on large pickups;
  • Incentives for natural gas vehicles; and
  • Credits for technologies with potential to achieve real-world greenhouse gas reductions and fuel economy improvements that are not captured by the standards test procedures.

We also set the first-ever national fuel consumption standards for heavy-duty trucks that will deliver savings that top $50 billion in fuel costs and 270 million metric tons of carbon pollution. And, at the President’s direction, we’re already hard at work on a new set of longer-term heavy truck standards to be finalized in 2016.

In 2014, approximately one in every 30 light-duty vehicles sold was a hybrid. We also know the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are also emerging as a viable alternative fuel technology across the industry.

Just as we can make significant progress by having vehicles use less petroleum, such as with the fuel efficient conventional and hybrid vehicles we see on the roads today, we can make even greater progress with vehicles that don’t use any at all… such as the electric vehicles on display here today. The number of electric vehicle models is increasing, a trend that gives us hope for the future.

The vehicles on display here today showcase the wide range of technologies that auto manufacturers are using to meet the administration’s standards for lower GHG emissions and fuel use. While today may be Earth Day, every day must be a day in which we challenge ourselves to do more, to imagine a better future, a cleaner future, and a world where we can look back and say danger was averted and hope was secured.

Enjoy exploring!