Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

* EPA is proposing enhancements to its Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program and other related fuel regulations to support market growth of ethanol and other renewable fuels. The changes seek to “provide the opportunity for increasing the production and use of renewable fuels by allowing the market to operate in the most efficient and economical way to introduce greater volumes of renewable fuels under the program.” There’s a public hearing on this on December 6, 2016, in Chicago. A copy of the proposed rule is available from the Agency’s web site. Easy reading – just 374 pages!

* Sobering: FHWA reports that American vehicles consumed 71.8 billion gallons of gasoline in the first half of 2016, an increase of 3 percent over the same period a year earlier. That is the highest amount on record and the sixth consecutive increase in national gasoline consumption for the first six months of any year on record. The South Gulf – eight states from Texas to West Virginia – had a 4.1 percent increase, the largest percentage increase of any region in the country. California led the nation in gasoline consumption with 7.65 billion gallons, followed by Texas at 7.1 billion gallons and Florida at 4.57 billion gallons. If interested, check EIA’s data to view how transport contributes to each each state’s CO2 emissions.

* By contrast – is that the right comparative? – the American Public Transportation Association reported on Friday that US voters approved 34 of 49 local and statewide public transit measures for a current Election Day passage rate (unofficial) of 69 percent. One measure remains to be called. The current success rates for transit measures throughout 2016 is 71 percent. Throughout the country this year, in 23 states and communities of all sizes, voters considered nearly $200 billion in local investment for public transportation at the ballot box.

Tom Ewing