Obama seeks tighter standards

Tuesday, Feb 25 2014 admin

ObamaOnce again, President Barack Obama is seeking more stringent regulations for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in order to raise fuel efficiency and cut down on carbon emissions. He is instructing the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to put forth a first draft of the new regulations by March 2015. He also calls for the rules to be finalized a year later.

Obama believes that helping trucks use less fuel would have the triple benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, making the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil, and helping consumers save money. “It’s not just a win-win, it’s a win-win-win,” he said.

The latest announcement, which took place at a Safeway distribution warehouse in Maryland on February 18, was a continuation of the president’s Climate Action Plan. The plan was established in June 2013 and builds upon the first-ever fuel efficiency standards established in 2011 for 2014-2018 heavy-duty truck models. Those fuel standards called for a 20 percent reduction in truck emissions by 2018. The White House projected that the reduction would save 530 million barrels of oil, or $50 billion for the trucking industry. The new round of regulations will set standards for truck models later than 2018 and will save the average truck owner $73,000 in the typical lifetime of a truck, says the White House.

Saying medium- and heavy-duty trucks are the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector, the White House hopes the plan will “spur manufacturing innovation and lead to the adoption of new fuel-efficient technologies on trucks and semi-trailers” and act as a catalyst for improvements in engine and powertrain efficiency, weight reduction, tire rolling resistance, hybridization, automatic engine shutdown and more.

While larger fleets say the efficient fuel standards will save money by cutting fuel costs, many truckers worry about the costs of upgrading to cleaner vehicles offsetting any benefits. “ATA hopes the administration will set forth a path that is both based on the best science and research available and economically achievable,” said Bill Graves, president of the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

The White House says it also wants to continue working with manufacturers in building concept trucks like the Super Trucks.

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