ASEAN’s oil use for road transport forecast to grow rapidly in future years, resulting in potentially bringing serious economic, environmental and energy security consequences for Member States. In this regard, ASEAN and the United States are expanding their energy cooperation to promote vehicle fuel efficiency in the region by organising the “U.S.-ASEAN Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Workshop” in Jakarta, Indonesia, this week.

The workshop brought together forty ASEAN Member States officials responsible for energy efficiency and conservation to examine lessons-learned from both the United States’ experience of setting minimum vehicle fuel efficiency standards and the U.S. “Cash-for-Clunkers” program to encourage the removal of inefficient vehicles from the roads. 

“This type of ASEAN-U.S. cooperation represents the way that technical experts from our countries can roll up their sleeves together and talk about practical ideas,” said U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN David L. Carden.  “It is so important for Southeast Asia and the United States to consider the whole picture of how to protect the environment and use fuel resources more efficiently.”

“In the U.S. we have seen government programs promoting vehicle fuel efficiency substantially reduce oil consumption,” said Mr. Tom Cutler, Director of European and Asia Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy. “It is our sincere hope that by expanding U.S.-ASEAN Energy Cooperation we can assist ASEAN to work through some of the challenges and policy solutions to reduce transportation energy demands while encouraging economic growth,” he added.

The workshop was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the ASEAN Energy Efficiency & Conservation Sub-Sector Network.  Sessions during the day covered the U.S. experience with transportation energy, removing old vehicles from U.S. roads along with fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles, present and projected transportation energy demands in ASEAN, and presentations by government officials on existing and planned vehicle fuel efficiency programs in ASEAN Member States.

“Efficiency is necessary, both in the form of appeal and regulation, to promote a change of mindset toward the awareness of energy efficiency, “said Mr. Edy Hermantoro, the Director General of Oil and Gas of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia in his Opening Remarks of the workshop.

The workshop was planned as part of the U.S.-ASEAN Energy Cooperation Work Plan and conducted in support of the new United States Asia Pacific Comprehensive Partnership (USACEP), announced in November 2012 at the 7th East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, by President Obama in partnership with Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei. USACEP offers a framework for expanding energy and environmental cooperation across existing regional forums to advance efforts to ensure affordable, secure, and cleaner energy supplies for the region.

The U.S.-ASEAN Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Workshop was organized by the U.S. Government-funded ASEAN-U.S. Technical Assistance and Training Facility in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Transportation, and the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia.