Obama Announces First-Ever Fuel Economy Standards for Trucks and Buses

President Obama announced the first fuel economy standards ever developed in the US for trucks and buses today.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards in close coordination with affected companies,  following requests from companies to develop this program. 

What? Companies actually asked for standards?

"While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened," says President Obama. "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."

Like the Administration’s standards for cars and light trucks, announced less than a couple of weeks ago, these standards can be implemented using mostly off-the-shelf technologies that are available today.

The standards apply to all heavy-duty vehicles manufactured in  2014-2018 – commercial trucks, buses and school buses, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational trucks like delivery and garbage trucks. 

Rather than applying one target for all kinds of vehicles, the program includes a specific targets for: semi-trucks, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles (like transit buses and refuse trucks). 

Within each of those categories, even more specific targets are laid out based on the design and purpose of the vehicle. This flexible structure allows serious but achievable fuel efficiency improvement goals charted for each year and for each vehicle category and type.  

Outline of the Standards:

  • Commercial trucks have to increase fuel economy 20% beginning in 2014
  • Heavy duty pickup trucks and vans have to increase fuel economy 15% by 2018
  • Vocational vehicles like garbage trucks, buses and fire engines have to increase fuel economy 10% by 2018.

Over the life of the standards, we’ll reduce oil consumption by over 22 billion gallons, prevent 270 million metric tons of carbon emissions and over accumulate $50 billion in fuel savings. 

Today, America’s fleet of trucks and buses uses more than 100 million gallons of oil per day, and emits about 20% of U.S. transportation greenhouse gas pollution.

How US business benefits:

In addition to saving billions in fuel costs, these rules will create jobs across the supply chain as U.S. manufacturers are better able to compete and export fuel efficient trucks, buses and engines. 

The rules place the U.S. ahead of all other nations in creating strong regulations that reward innovation in the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sector.

For example, there’s growing demand for Auxiliary Power Units that eliminate the need for idling – that will benefit firms across the U.S.

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