Covered in this summer bi-weekly Green Mobility Policy Briefing: US DOT proposes updated fuel economy standards to strengthen energy security and save Americans at the pump; Brazil’s potential to soar as a sustainable aviation fuel powerhouse; ULEZ – London mayor and councils clash on signage as cameras vandalised; and England’s rail fare increases for 2024 to remain below 9% inflation rate.
USDOT Proposes Updated Fuel Economy Standards to Strengthen Energy Security and Save Americans at the Pump. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), through its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has unveiled an ambitious proposal aimed at revolutionizing fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks. The proposed rules set forth an ambitious goal – by the year 2032, the average light-duty vehicle is estimated to achieve a 58 miles per gallon (4.05 lifters per 100km). The proposal, which kicks off a 60-day public comment period, outlines a comprehensive strategy that entails active collaboration with a diverse array of stakeholders. This includes consumers, automakers, states, environmental groups, unions, and other relevant parties. The NHTSA is also committed to improving the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty pickup trucks and work vans. “Enhanced vehicle fuel efficiency translates to more money in the pockets of every American and strengthens our entire nation’s energy security,” emphasizes U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The proposal presents an array of alternatives, with the preferred option envisaging a gradual improvement in fuel efficiency for passenger cars (2% per year) and light trucks (4% per year) from 2027 to 2032. Moreover, commercial pickup trucks and work vans are expected to achieve a10% annual improvement in fuel efficiency between 2030 and 2035.
Brazil’s Potential to Soar as a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Powerhouse. In the relentless pursuit of a more sustainable future, the aviation industry has set its sights on a lofty goal: achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As airlines around the world grapple with the challenge of reducing their environmental footprint, a glimmer of hope emerges from an unexpected source – Brazil. A top executive from Boeing has boldly proclaimed that Brazil has the potential to become a major global player in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), a pivotal component in realizing the industry’s ambitious emissions target. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a representative body for airlines, has underscored the significance of sustainable aviation fuel in its pursuit of net-zero carbon emissions. The journey to carbon neutrality hinges on the development and increased production of SAF, derived from renewable resources such as vegetable oils or waste materials. Brazil, renowned for its agricultural prowess, is already a frontrunner in the realm of biofuels. Boeing’s optimism is also rooted in Brazil’s existing technical capacity, a highly qualified workforce, and abundant raw materials. The convergence of these elements lays a solid foundation for Brazil to contribute substantial and lasting results in the global endeavour to decarbonize aviation.
ULEZ – London Mayor and Councils Clash on Signage as Cameras Vandalised. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has appealed to three councils to set aside political considerations and permit the placement of advisory signs prior to the forthcoming extension of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in under two weeks. Effective from August 29th, the ULEZ will encompass the outlying boroughs of London, resulting in a daily charge of £12.50 for non-compliant vehicles. Nevertheless, the mayor has expressed concern that certain county councils have declined Transport for London’s (TfL) request to erect signs notifying drivers of their entry into the zone, potentially leading to inadvertent violations. The mayor has beseeched these three county councils to transcend political divisions and make choices that align with the best interests of their constituents and drivers. However, resistance to the ULEZ expansion has generated considerable discontent, resulting in the pre-launch vandalism of some newly installed signs and cameras.
England’s Rail Fare Increases for 2024 to Remain Below 9% Inflation Rate. The UK government has announced that rail fare increases in England for the year 2024 will be kept below 9%, aligning with the inflation rate. However, these fare adjustments will be postponed until March, according to government sources. Traditionally, rail ticket costs would surge in January in accordance with the previous July’s retail prices index (RPI) inflation rate. Recent data from the Office for National Statistics indicates a 9% RPI rate for the last month. Rather than using the RPI figure of 12.3% for that month, they decided to link fare hikes with the UK’s average earnings growth, which stood at 5.9% for the quarter ending July 2022. The Department for Transport (DfT) has affirmed its intention to again defer ticket price changes, keeping any increases below the RPI. At present, the rail fare strategies for 2024 in Scotland and Wales are yet to be announced. In Northern Ireland, fare decisions are determined by the operator Translink. Train ticket prices are also set to increase in France as the SNCF Reseau, the rail network operator, is set to increase usage costs, which account for 40% of train ticket costs, by 7.6 to 8% in 2024.