Department of Agricultural Economics: Undergraduate Research


Date of this Version

Fall 12-10-2015

Document Type



Op-Ed from ENSC 230. Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agricultural Economics,Fall 2015


Copyright (c) 2015 Logan Neal


Our homes are one of our most prized possessions, because of the many things it provides. Trying to keep your house from falling apart, can seem like a never ending task. If you neglect these tasks your house can go from a home to a death trap very quickly. While your house is your home, the earth is home to you, your home, along with generation yet to be born. Just like your individual home, the earth requires tasks to be done to keep it from killing us all. Today addressing the problem of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions needs to be at the top of our docket. While many factors contribute to the problem of GHG emission, I would like to focus on one; transportation. Transportation is responsible for 31% of GHG emissions in the US, second in the standings to electricity who is at 37%. Café standards are the current way the US regulates fuel efficiency, but I believe that there are some major flaws with this. The standards are being decided by two separate agencies and they are heavily influenced by political pressure. The corporate average fuel economy (café) standards come out of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, which gave the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) the power to regulate the café standards. The EPCA was not developed for any kind of climate change purpose, but instead was in response to the energy crisis of 1973. The NHTSA made the first café standards in 1978 and were regulated by themselves until 2007. In 2007 the Supreme Court ruled that the environmental protection agency (EPA) has the right to regulate GHG emissions for new cars, this power is derived out of the clean air act. The NHTSA and the EPA put out their first joint decision in 2012. It is very hard to believe that a single standard can be set by two completely separate entities.