U.S. automakers have always been reluctant partners in the nation’s efforts to reduce air pollution and improve fuel efficiency. There have been struggles for decades between the carmakers and the government in setting Corporate Average Fuel Economy (or CAFÉ) standards. During the Obama administration, some of the most demanding fuel economy and emissions standards were mandated.
While American politicians were voting on eliminating tax credits for buyers of electric vehicles, auto executives from around the world were gathering to make ambitious plans to sell more electric cars in China.
Every stage of civilization is characterized by its use of energy. From burning wood to steam engines to our electrified society, energy is behind everything we do. Over time, human society has become increasingly energy intensive. As our standards of living have improved and as we overcome the effects of weather – either cold or warm – it takes more and more energy to live the lives we lead.