This is no April Fools! On April 1, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), in response to an Obama Administration directive, established new, more stringent Federal Rules that â€œset the first-ever national greenhouse gas emissions standards and will significantly increase the fuel economy of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States. â€œ According to Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator, â€œcleaner car standards will be 950,000,000 tons of pollution cut from our skies. They will mean as much as $3,000 dollars in savings for drivers of 2016 model clean cars. And they will mean $2.3 billion dollars that can stay at home in our economy rather than buying oil from overseas.â€ She continued, â€œ. We expect to reduce greenhouse emissions by the equivalent of 42,000,000 cars over the life of the program.â€
Basically, the new rules establish more stringent fuel economy standards under several programs including the Clean Air Act for vehicles manufactured for 2012 â€“ 2016 model-years. It will require automakers to reduce gas emissions by approximately 5% per year and strengthen fuel economy standards to 34.1 mpg average by 2016.
According to the EPA press release, â€œClimate change is the single greatest long-term global environmental challenge. Cars, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks are responsible for almost 60 percent of all U.S. transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.â€
The projects envisioned for this change include those within the auto industry that will ripple throughout the business community; more efficient engine design, new materials for all of the parts that go into making vehicles; glass, structural panels, interior parts, whatever. Less weight means less energy to push (or pull) the vehicle along, so saving ounces adds up. Iâ€™m sure that you can think of lots more projects that could enhance the vehicleâ€™s performance; tire design, even new design for roads and road materials to make vehicles roll with less friction, new testing equipment and testing facilities. While something like road design wonâ€™t make the vehicle more efficient per sec, in the long run, it may add to the reduction of carbon emissions and the overall point of these regulations. More importantly to the project manager is the awareness of these problems and drivers of the â€œGreen Waveâ€, will lead to identification of areas of need a vigilant project manager can step in and manage. After all, we, as project managers, do want to be leading the charge, not trailing it. For more information on the new regulations, see: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm