skip navigation
print icon Print

Energy/Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Recent Developments Archive

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

«Return to Recent Developments

Executive Order Calls for Reversal of Climate Policies

President Trump has issued an Executive Order that revokes several climate-related policies developed during the Obama administration, including the Climate Action Plan and guidance concerning consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change effects in National Environmental Policy Act reviews. The order calls for the immediate review of actions that affect the development of domestic energy resources, including the Clean Power Plan, and the subsequent termination, revision or suspension of related provisions. The social cost of carbon will be evaluated to ensure estimates of costs and benefits are based on the best available science and a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands will be rescinded. For more information, link to the order. (3-28-17)  

[back to top]

Economic Potential of Low-Carbon Natural Gas Analyzed in New Report

The long-term economic potential of low-carbon natural gas (LCNG) within the transportation sector is explored in a report by the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis. The report addresses the use of LCNG, which includes methane from biomass and fossil gas mixed with hydrogen, in light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles. The report includes data concerning woody and herbaceous feedstocks to produce biogas to determine total resource potential for LCNG production and an analysis of projected transportation fuel demand. The report also analyzes emissions regarding a vehicle’s cumulative emissions on a per-mile-traveled basis and includes calculations for each LCNG pathway’s total cost. For more information, link to the report. (3-18-17) 

[back to top]

EPA to Revisit Greenhouse Gas Standards for Light-Duty Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency have announced that the EPA will reconsider a final determination regarding the midterm evaluation of greenhouse gas standards for light duty vehicles from model years 2022-2025. The previous determination found that automakers were well positioned to meet the standards at lower costs than previously estimated. The reconsideration will be coordinated with the parallel process to be undertaken by the DOT’s National Highway Transportation Administration regarding corporate average fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks for the same model years. EPA intends to make a new final determination regarding the appropriateness of the greenhouse gas standards by April 1, 2018. For more information, link to the EPA midterm evaluation website and to the notice. (3-15-17)

[back to top]

Report Describes State of Global Electric Vehicle Markets

An analysis of global electric vehicle (EV) markets has been compiled by the International Council on Clean Transportation. The report highlights EV capitals in 14 metropolitan areas. It finds the top markets by electric vehicle share of new passenger vehicles are Oslo (27 percent), Utrecht (15 percent), Shanghai (11 percent), Shenzhen (10 percent), Amsterdam (10 percent ), and San Jose (9.4 percent). The report addresses financial and nonfinancial incentives, charging infrastructure, research and campaigns and transit and fleet as EV market drivers. The report also provides case studies with policy action and lifecycle emissions data tailored to each area. It indicates that future work must focus on increasing electric-powered car sharing, transit, and freight movement as technologies are advanced. For more information, link to the report. (3-11-17)

[back to top]

Report Highlights Energy Needs of Changing Transportation Sector

The Department of Energy has issued a report concerning the changing transportation sector and its impact on energy consumption. The report focuses on the rise of the shared economy, increased urbanization, and pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and how these trends affect the need for energy-efficient, low carbon technologies for transportation. The report discusses incremental policy change, the prevalence of personal vehicle ownership and shared mobility vehicles in the future. The report also discusses the adoption of zero-emission vehicles; an increase in urban sprawl; increase in higher-occupancy vehicle trips; and a predominance of low-occupancy ridership. For more information, link to the report. (2-24-17)

[back to top]

EPA Releases Draft of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a draft of its annual inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks, which provides information by source, economic sector, and type of greenhouse gas. The report, which covers the period from 1990 to 2015, provides a comprehensive accounting of total greenhouse gas emissions for all man-made sources in the U.S. It is submitted to the United Nations in accordance with the Framework Convention on Climate Change. For more information, link to the draft report. (2-14-17)

[back to top]

FHWA Extends Effective Date of Performance Measure Rules

The Federal Highway Administration has extended the effective dates of two final rules that established performance measures for the nation’s highway programs. The effective dates have been extended until March 21 to allow for review by the new administration. The delayed rules relate to assessing pavement and bridge conditions under the National Highway Performance Program, and assessing performance of freight movement and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.  The freight and CMAQ program rule also included the first-ever greenhouse gas measure for highways. For more information, link to the notice in the Feb. 13 Federal Register. (2-10-17)

[back to top]

Study Evaluates Role of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure to Grow Plug-In Market

A study on availability of public charging infrastructure for plug-in electric vehicles, including a forward-looking case study in Massachusetts, has been conducted by the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The study includes a literature review on PEV infrastructure, a case study focused on supporting 300,000 PEVs by 2025 in Massachusetts, and a discussion of a potential methodology for estimating economic impacts of PEV infrastructure growth. For more information, link to the study. (2-9-17)

[back to top]

TRB Videos Describe Electric Vehicle Incentives

The Transportation Research Board has released a series of videos that highlight incentives to promote electric vehicle (EV) use. The videos provide a market update and address the need for EVs, the value of incentives and promotions and the importance of battery improvement to drive EV market growth. The videos include best practice examples of incentive programs in New York and Colorado and additional state policies and programs to provide policy recommendations for implementation. In addition, the videos describe incentives efforts in Sweden, focusing on the country’s fossil-fuel independent transport sector. For more information, link to the videos. (2-1-17)

[back to top]

DOE Report Examines Possible Mobility Scenarios for Transportation

The Department of Energy has released a report that examines four possible mobility futures that could exist in 2050 and the positive and negative impacts these can have on energy consumption and the broader economy. The report, “The Transforming Mobility Ecosystem: Enabling an Energy-Efficient Future,” considers the two factors with the highest potential to transform the transportation sector: vehicle control (driver-only vs. fully automated self-driving) and vehicle ownership (personal ownership vs. fully shared). The report evaluates four possible futures emerging from the combination of these factors. For more information, link to the report. (1-27-17)

[back to top]

National Academies Report on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine has released a report on the social cost of climate change. The report includes several approaches to updating the current method of calculating the costs and benefits associated with changes in carbon dioxide emissions for its use in federal regulatory impact analysis. The report analyzes available science and how it would impact the choice of integrated assessment models and damage functions. The report also addresses the use of a socioeconomic module, climate module, damages module and a discounting module to calculate carbon costs. For more information, link to the report. (2-2-17)

[back to top]

Final Programmatic Assessment of GHG Emissions from Transit Projects Issued

The Federal Transit Administration has released a final programmatic assessment for greenhouse gas emissions from transit projects. The assessment reports on whether certain types of proposed transit projects merit detailed analysis of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the project level and provides a source of data and analysis for incorporation by reference in future environmental documents for projects. The assessment found that bus rapid transit and streetcar projects generally generate low levels of GHG emissions and that light rail projects and commuter rail projects with certain characteristics can reduce GHG emissions. For more information, link to the assessment. (11-17-16)

[back to top]

FHWA Issues Report on National Alternative Fuel Corridors

The Federal Highway Administration has issued a report on the first round of designations for national alternative fuels corridors. The report, National Electric Vehicle Charging and Hydrogen, Propane, and Natural Gas Fueling Corridors, provides maps and narrative descriptions of the corridors—both “signage ready” and “signage pending” designations—for electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, or propane. The report also describes the agency's goals for the corridors looking toward 2020, envisioning an alternative fueling network having the same consistency and convenience, reliability and performance, and coordination between the public and private sectors as the current system based on gasoline and diesel. For more information, link to the report. (1-13-17)

[back to top]

EPA Updates State Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Projection Tools

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced an update to its state greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory and projection tools. The SIT is a spreadsheet designed to help states enter and update GHG inventories. The SIT is composed of 11 estimation modules with a top-down approach to GHG calculation and one module to provide aggregate estimates. The projection tool allows users to create a forecast of emissions through 2030 based on historical emissions and projections of future energy consumption, population and economic factors. A separate tool also is available to help project fossil fuel consumption. For more information, link to the tools. (1-13-17)

[back to top]

FHWA Adopts GHG Performance Measure for Highways

The Federal Highway Administration has adopted a requirement for transportation agencies to measure greenhouse gas emissions for highways, including setting targets and reporting progress in achieving them. The rule establishes a requirement that state DOTs estimate the percent change in carbon dioxide emissions from 2017 levels on the National Highway System. The estimates will be based on annual fuel sales, emission conversion factors published by the Energy Information Agency, and the proportion of statewide vehicle miles traveled. Under the rule, all state DOTs and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) that have National Highway System roadways within their planning boundaries must establish carbon dioxide targets and report on progress toward attaining the goals. The agency included the greenhouse gas measure in its final rule assessing the performance and reliability of the National Highway System, the Interstate System, freight movement, and congestion-related air quality. For more information, link to the text of the rule. (1-10-17)

[back to top]

NREL Details Consumer Views on Plug-In Electric Vehicles in Report

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a report detailing a survey of public sentiment toward issues related to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The report examines vehicle purchasing behavior independent of a particular vehicle technology, current consumer awareness and acceptance of PEV technologies, metrics associated with known barriers to PEV acceptance and segments of respondents in which PEV acceptance may be higher than the respondent group in total. Among other things, the study found that people aware of charging stations were more likely to view plug-in electric vehicles positively and be willing to consider purchasing them. For more information, link to the report. (12-30-17)

[back to top]

Featured Case Study

  • Case Study Photo

    The Vermont Agency of Transportation is installing solar projects to offset its energy use, such as this solar array at the Rutland Airport.

    Read Case Study >Photo: Vermont Agency of Transportation

View All Case Studies for this Topic >

New - items posted in the last 7 days

AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
skip navigation