California governor hangs hat on 7 mpg for diesel trucks

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 1/13/2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown has announced ambitious plans to reduce the state’s use of oil that will rely on increased fuel mileage from passenger vehicles and big rigs.

During his inaugural address in early January before the state legislature, Brown said he wants California to obtain half of its electricity from renewable sources and also wants to reduce the use of petroleum by cars and trucks in half.

“Taking significant amounts of carbon out of our economy without harming its vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge at which California excels,” Brown said. “This is exciting, it is bold, and it is absolutely necessary if we are to have any chance of stopping potentially catastrophic changes to our climate system.”

California’s plan aims to cut current petroleum fuels use in half by the year 2030. A fact sheet released by the California Air Resources Board estimates the state spends $33 to $55 billion annually because of oil dependence.

Existing environmental regulations project to cut petroleum use in cars and trucks by more than 20 percent by the year 2030, the fact sheet states.

“An approach to 50 percent petroleum reduction could include: Reducing growth in vehicle-miles travelled to 4 percent; increasing on-road fuel efficiency of cars to 35 mpg and heavy-duty trucks to about 7 mpg; and at least doubling use of alternative fuels like biofuels, electricity, hydrogen, and renewable natural gas,” CARB’s announcement reads.

According to the U.S. Energy Department, the average Class 8 truck gets 5.8 miles per gallon.

Brown used the address to tout the success of California Assembly Bill 32, the 2006 law that gave the state authority to approve aggressive emissions rules, including the Truck and Bus Regulation.

Still, Brown said, the Golden State can do more.

“California has the most far-reaching environmental laws of any state and the most integrated policy to deal with climate change of any political jurisdiction in the Western Hemisphere,” Brown said. “We must demonstrate that reducing carbon is compatible with an abundant economy and human well-being. So far, we have been able to do that.”

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