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By Steve Levy

State Climate Change Legislation

Uploaded: Sep 8, 2015

This week the state legislature is debating a bill that would set a goal of reducing gasoline consumption by 59% by 2030.

The San Jose Mercury News had an interesting article analyzing whether this was a hard goal to meet or easier than thought and what were the components of reaching this goal.
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Five approaches are cited.

1) Doubling federal mileage standards to 54.4 miles per gallon by 2025 -- on the books today apparently with auto company support

This would reduce gasoline use by 50% other things being equal.

2) Broader use of electric vehicles-a goal already in California law.

3) Cleaner fuels--laws already on the books.

4) Land use changes that reduce travel demand and travel length.

5) Increased use of public transit and biking.

The article quotes an Air Resources Board scientist on how hard it would be to reach this goal.

"Air Resources Board officials say that California could cut gasoline and diesel use in half -- from the current 17.4 billion gallons to about 8.7 billion gallons in the next 15 years -- almost entirely by relying on existing rules.

"This is not a cosmic shift. It is basically us continuing to do what we are already doing today," said Ryan McCarthy, a senior scientist at the board."

On the other hand the petroleum industry in running ads claiming this goal would require drastic changes in driving habits.

It seems like doubling gas mileage, making fuels cleaner and using more electric vehicles for business and personal use would not require any change in miles driven. Land use and non-car transportation alternatives would have the goal of reducing the need for and length of auto trips.

It should also be noted that reducing gasoline usage is not the same as reducing car travel or congestion. Some policies achieve both goals but some do not.

What do readers think? Are these goals hard to achieve or relatively easy?