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Former EPA official gives clean, green car talk for Earth Day

Apr 22, 2015

An electric car recharges at a station.
Credit Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr

The landmark 2012 Clean Air Act was the nation's first action focusing on greenhouse gases, with the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025.

Margo Oge was the Environmental Protection Agency's director of the Office of Transportation Air Quality and she helped to shape the Clean Air Act.

Today for Earth Day, she'll speak at the University of Michigan about her new book Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars.

During her 32 years at the EPA, Oge says scientists were passionate about creating a plan similar to the Clean Air Act, but it wasn't possible due to the politics surrounding climate change until President Obama came into office.

Now, the act requires cars to reduce carbon production 50% from 2012 levels by 2025.

"This is equivalent of removing about 80 million cars from the road," Oge says, adding that it will save two million barrels of fuel a day or half of what the U.S. imports from OPEC.

The change will save consumers money at the pump as well.

But Oge stresses that cars without any carbon pollution at all are still the real solution.

"Cars by 2050 must be zero carbon pollution, but really it means a car should be electric powered with clean energy fuel cells, lightweight materials," Oge says. 

In order for the U.S. to continue to be competitive Oge says, "We must continue to innovate with cleaner, less polluting, more efficient cars for the future."