Federal fuel standards were changed to require more fuel-efficient cars, saving lives by reducing air pollution and reducing climate risks. We spearheaded efforts in the Midwest to pass new fuel economy and greenhouse gas legislation and rules for vehicles; we led efforts in Michigan and the Midwest in support of policies to promote low-carbon fuels; we formed the Built by Michigan Coalition to campaign in support of expanding the electric vehicle market and electric vehicle charging opportunities in Michigan; we participated in the Michigan Public Service Commission’s Plug-in Readiness Task Force and Michigan Plug-In Ready Infrastructure Plan; we worked with automakers and other coalition partners to successfully oppose a proposed state tax on electric and hybrid vehicles; and we co-drafted the Ann Arbor City Council resolution to make the city “EV Ready.” Today, the Ecology Center is leading efforts in the transition to the next generation of electric vehicles statewide and in the Midwest.
The Ecology Center was the only Michigan-based environmental organization at the table for negotiations over federal fuel efficiency standards in the 2000’s, and the only UAW-related group. We organized the Green Machines Tour which traveled across the Midwest to make the case for stronger standards and increased auto jobs in the advanced vehicle sector.
Transportation is responsible for roughly one-third of greenhouse gas emissions and close to 100% of our nation’s petroleum use. The production of oil continues to be responsible for measurable and significant health impacts as well as unprecedented environmental damage. New sources are proving to be even more carbon-intensive and environmentally risk (e.g., deep-sea drilling in the Gulf and oil sands development in the Arctic).
The Ecology Center has been a key player in both state and federal efforts to reduce the impacts of the auto industry by advocating for policies to increase the efficiency of automobiles’ use of oil, as well as policies to encourage cleaner and lower-carbon fuels for more than a decade. The Ecology Center spearheaded efforts to build broad-based support across the Midwest for the Energy Act of 2007, which mandated new greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks—the first overhaul of the statute in over 30 years. That campaign was part of our long term strategy to support Michigan’s emerging electric car and advanced battery industry by enacting policies and programs that encourage the purchase and increased use of electric vehicles and help build-out our electric charging infrastructure.
Recently we’ve been focusing our attention on policies that promote the market for electric vehicles, which we believe will be needed in order to meet deep reductions of greenhouse gases in the transportation sector over the long-term. That’s why we create and coordinate the Built by Michigan electric vehicle coalition, which seeks to educate policymakers and the public about the benefits of electric vehicles both to the environment and to the state’s economy and advocate for policies that will encourage more electric vehicles on Michigan’s roads.
The Ecology Center also stepped up to help form and coordinate the Charge Up Midwest Campaign, a partnership of seven environmental and clean energy organizations seeking to increase electric vehicle deployment and reduce transportation-related carbon emissions throughout the Midwest region.
Campaign partners are working with a broad range of stakeholders to support actions that increase investment in electric vehicle infrastructure (i.e., more charging stations on our highways and in cities), create a more resilient and cleaner grid, and otherwise accelerate the production, sales and access to electric vehicles in the region for all Midwest residents.