Mission: Cutting emissions

Vehicle emissions-reduction faces rough road ahead

Drastically cutting automobile emissions and fuel use in the next 40 years will be “extremely challenging,” a federal report finds.

In 2010, Congress commissioned the National Research Council to compile a report analyzing the practicality of reducing gasoline use and greenhouse-gas emissions in cars and light trucks by 80 percent by 2050, according to The Daily Climate. The council found that even meeting the goal halfway—cutting fuel use in half by 2030—would be “very difficult.”

Of particular concern was the cost of transitioning from conventional vehicles—the report noted that while manufacturing hybrid electric and fuel-cell vehicles will be less expensive by 2050, battery electric and plug-in hybrids will still be more expensive than conventional automobiles.

“Such a transition will be costly and require several decades,” said Douglas M. Chapin, chairman of the committee that produced the report.