Obama Orders First-Ever Efficiency, Emissions Standards for Trucks

President Obama today directed the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to create a first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks for Model Years 2014-2018. 

He also called for an extension of the National Program for cars and light-duty trucks to Model Year 2017 and beyond.

Currently trucks consume more than two million barrels of oil every day, and average 6.1 miles per gallon. They also emit 20% of greenhouse gas pollution related to transportation. Preliminary estimates indicate great potential for significant fuel efficiency gains and greenhouse gas emissions reductions for large tractor trailers, which represent half of all GHG emissions from this sector.

Additionally, Obama directed the Department of Energy to provide increased support for deployment of advanced vehicles, including electric vehicles, and directed EPA to reduce non-greenhouse-gas pollutants from motor vehicles.

“This will bring down costs for transporting goods, serving businesses and consumers alike. It will reduce pollution. And, just like the rule concerning cars, this standard will spur growth in the clean energy sector," Obama said.

Last month, EPA and DOT issued coordinated final rules to increase fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas pollution for new cars and light-duty trucks manufactured in Model Years 2012-2016 and sold in the United States. 

EPA and DOT will now develop rulemaking proposals heavier vehicles.

“We need to seize the momentum following last month’s historic new fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards and President Obama’s announcement today does just that,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “By expanding this effort to include medium and heavy-duty trucks and encouraging the development of innovative technologies such as electric cars, we are laying the foundation for a cleaner, greener transportation sector that provides greater environmental benefits, reduces our dependence on oil and encourages American creativity.”

A recent report from the National Research Council said advanced diesel engines in tractor-trailers could lower their fuel consumption by up to 20%. 

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