Should We Reduce Carbon Emissions Due to U. S. Transportation?

Before answering the question, we need to compare carbon dioxide emissions produced by our electric power plants with emissions due to transportation. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported, ref. 1, that 38% of carbon dioxide emissions are produced by our electric power plants. The emissions are from power plants that use coal, natural gas and oil. The data is averaged over the years from 1990 to 2012.

The combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel to transport people and goods is the second largest source of carbon dioxide emissions. The transportation sources of emissions include highway vehicles, air travel, marine transportation and rail. As reported, ref. 1, transportation emissions produce 32% of the total carbon dioxide emissions. Not much difference, 38% for electricity and 32% for transportation.

Why is the Obama administration supporting the EPA regulation to shutdown 20% of our coal fired electric plants by mid 2015? As reported earlier here, a 20% shutdown of coal fired plants, by mid 2015, will likely result in wide spread electricity blackouts when peak demands for electricity are needed. Instead of jeopardizing the reliability of our electricity supply, why not reduce the consumption of the fossil fuels used for transportation? The “Common Sense Energy Plan”, provides a plan to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels used for ground transportation. We need a serious effort to convert from fossil fuels to the energy sources derived from hydrogen and electricity for car and truck transportation.

Ref. 1. United States Environmental Protection Agency, “Climate Change, Overview of Greenhouse Gases”, Update: 7/2/2014