Heavy-duty trucks and buses will have fuel-efficiency rules for the first time ever, after the Obama administration announced the new regulations on Tuesday.
The regulations will require the vehicles to have better fuel-efficiency by up to 23 percent by model year 2018. The requirements are part of the Obama administration’s goal of not only reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil but also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and billions of dollars in spending on fuel costs. The administration has estimated that the new standards would save $50 billion in fuel costs and reduce oil consumption by about 530 million barrels during that period.
“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened,” Obama said in a statement. “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.”
The standards will affect heavy-duty trucks, big rigs, semi-trucks, delivery trucks, buses, large vans and garbage trucks. Medium-and heavy-duty trucks make up about 4 percent of the total vehicles on the road in the United States and account for about 20 percent of the oil used and 20 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted by the transportation sector.
The new standards have been in the works for about a year and over the course of that time, the White House, Environmental Protection Agency officials, the Department of Transportation and industry officials have worked together to reach an agreement on what the fuel-efficiency requirements would be. After the president announced the new standards, industry officials, environmental and clean-air groups praised the milestone.
“Everyone was sort of patting everyone else on the back,” Bill Graves, president and chief executive of the American Trucking Associations, said. “Everybody knows what the expectations are, and everyone has lead time to meet those expectations. … I honestly believe one of the reasons we the users have confidence in this rule is we know how competitive these truck manufacturers [and] engine manufacturers are.”
“We strongly applaud the administration’s continued leadership on efforts to increase fuel efficiency and curb global warming pollution,” Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement. “Following President Obama’s historic clean cars announcement last month, this action represents yet another important step toward transforming our nation’s energy policies, rebuilding our struggling economy and protecting the planet for future generations.”
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