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Savannah Hilton Head, Georgia (By NBC News Channel WSUV), April 23, 2008 - Every Earth Day Washington talks about getting greener. But on Earth Day 2008, action has started to match up with aspiration.
Against a backdrop of green trees and vehicles designed to be greener the government ordered automakers to improve gas mileage 25 percent by 2015.
Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said, "This proposal will also help us all breathe a little easier by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from tailpipes, cutting fuel consumption and making driving a little more affordable." There was plenty of green symbolism on this Earth Day 2008.
President Bush planted a tree in New Orleans and house democrats did the same in the nation's capital.
But soaring energy costs are forcing real change onto the fast track.
Alternative energy sources like windmills are suddenly getting a serious second look.
Randall Swisher of American Wind Energy Association said, "This industry has the potential to provide as much as twenty percent of the nation's electricity within the 2030 time frame."
Solar energy is generating a lot of excitement, too.
In the nation's capital fifty teams of college students competed in a showcase of renewable energy ideas.
Gabriel Chong a student at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania said, "We're actually getting in about four times more power right now than we're actually using."
But it's more than just gee whiz.
Chris Zarba, Deputy Director of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research said, "It's not only to have good ideas, but it's to bring those ideas to market so they can be brought into business, made available to the public."
The technology of tomorrow making its way toward main street.
The Transportation Department says the new mileage standards will save an estimated 55 billion gallons in fuel.