Obama Launches Fuel Standards for Trucks and Buses

by | Aug 9, 2011

Big-rig trucks will be required to reduce fuel consumption by about 20 percent by model year 2018, under heavy-duty vehicle efficiency rules unveiled by President Obama today.

The new rules also include standards for heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, with separate regulations for gasoline-powered and diesel-powered models. These vehicles will have to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15 percent by model year 2018.

Meanwhile, vocational vehicles – delivery trucks, buses and garbage trucks – will have to reduce consumption and emissions by about 10 percent by model year 2018.

The new rules, a joint initiative between the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, lay out more specific targets within these categories, based on vehicle design and purpose, the White House said.

The Obama administration said the measures will save $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles. Trucks and buses built between 2014 and 2018 will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas emissions by about 270 million metric tons, the White House said.

It said that a semi-truck operator could pay for the necessary technology upgrades in under a year and realize net savings of $73,000 through reduced fuel costs over the lifespan of the truck.

“Thanks to the Obama Administration, for the first time in our history we have a common goal for increasing the fuel efficiency of the trucks that deliver our products, the vehicles we use at work, and the buses our children ride to school,” transportation secretary Ray LaHood said. “These new standards will reduce fuel costs for businesses, encourage innovation in the manufacturing sector, and promote energy independence for America.”

Late last month, the administration announced a deal to increase automobile fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, with 13 major auto-makers signing on to the standards.

“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened,” President Obama said today. “We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks.  They were from the people who build, buy, and drive these trucks.  And today, I’m proud to have the support of these companies as we announce the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium-and heavy-duty trucks.”

An EPA information page on the new truck and bus standards is here.

Picture credit: Chris Toombes (muchmor)

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