Kudos to Chuck Frank, president of Z Frank Chevrolet in Chicago [February 11], for his progressive views on improving the national average fuel-economy standards for vehicles, global warming, and urban air pollution. Mr. Frank is doing what he can within the “framework” of owning his dealership.
Specializing in sustainable alternative-energy technologies, I am a board member of the Nuclear Energy Information Service in Evanston. As a member of NEIS’s “public speaker’s bureau,” I have given my overhead-projector presentation to Chicago-area high schools. One of my transparencies shows that increasing the national average fuel efficiency for cars to 45 miles per gallon will save over ten times as much oil as drilling in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, exploiting the reserves in the outer continental shelf off California, and eliminating utility oil with nuclear reactors. (Anyway, most of our oil consumption goes to run transportation vehicles and heat homes. Nuclear power is too slow, too expensive, and the wrong energy source to successfully reduce our oil dependency.) An increase to 35 mpg in new light-truck fuel economy, combined with new automobile fuel-efficiency improvements to 45 mpg, would reduce our oil use by 3.2 million barrels each day. These measures will save us about $38 billion each year and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 650 tons annually. The vehicles will be just as safe, comfortable, and affordable as what we have now.
Dennis R. Nelson