The research director of the Union of Concerned Scientists recently put out some numbers on the what would happen if the gas mileage of cars, SUVs, minivans
and pickup trucks were raised to 34 mpg by 2017. Some elected politicians, but by no means all, in Washington D.C. are calling for an increase in CAFE standards. UCS' David Friedman says 34 mpg could be reached with a four percent improvement each year. If this increase were required, then America would save 550,000 barrels of oil a day in 2017, and 95 million metric tons of carbon dioxide would be saved from the atmosphere that year, which UCS says is the same as taking 14 million of today's cars and trucks off the road.
On the biofuel
side of things, producing 35 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2017 would cut projected oil demand by 1.5 million barrels per day in 2017. If these fuels are primarily ethanol
(corn-based and cellulosic), it would reduce global warming pollution by 160 million metric tons in 2017, the equivalent of removing almost 24 million of today's cars and trucks from the road.
[Source: Union of Concerned Scientists]