Although Earth Day 2012 is still two days away, we at the Department of Transportation believe an emphasis on the environment is important each and every day, especially when it comes to transportation.
It cannot be denied that transportation is a big factor in the environment. Transportation accounted for 70% of petroleum use in the United States in 2010 as well as nearly one third of greenhouse gas emissions. Anything that moves needs fuel and produces waste. And while we cannot eliminate this waste, we can at least minimize its harmful impact.
And that is what the Obama administration and DOT have set out to do.
Our Fuel Economy Standard will increase average vehicle fuel efficiency to roughly 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. This means cars will use oil more efficiently and effectively -- saving the greenery along your route and the green in your wallet. In fact, the average American will save up to $6,600.
Sustainability is a focus both externally and internally at DOT. In fact, our headquarters is located in an environmentally friendly building, complete with LEED certification.
Yesterday in the atrium of our headquarters, I had the pleasure of opening DOT's annual Earth Day Celebration, an event that featured many displays of green initiatives taking place within DOT and in America's various modes of transportation.
DOT employees have really stepped up for sustainability. The Department's "Green Team" celebrated its one year anniversary in March, and the team has already lamuched several initiatives including Lights Out-Power Down, an Energy Fair, and efforts to promote green commuting and recycling. They also worked hard to create a Green Code of Conduct for all DOT employees that reminds us to Reuse, Power down, Conserve, Consider, and Recycle.
Earlier this week I had the unique opportunity to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery in its final voyage. That day I was reminded not just of our history of space exploration, but also of the wonderful planet on which we live.
This Earth Day, I would encourage everyone to find a way to give back to our planet. It could be something as simple as riding your bike rather than driving or, like many DOT employees, planting a tree in your backyard.
It may not be easy being green, but it is certainly important for the health of our planet, now and for generations to come.