WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government on Monday announced the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses.
The move stems from a memorandum that President Obama sent to the administrators of the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier this year.
The national program is projected to reduce GHG emissions by nearly 250 million metric tons and to save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the program’s first five years.
The EPA and NHTSA are proposing new standards for three categories of heavy vehicles: combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vans, and vocational vehicles.
School buses are included in the vocational category. For vocational vehicles, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards starting in the 2014 model year that would achieve up to a 10-percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by the 2018 model year.
“These new standards are another step in our work to develop a new generation of clean, fuel-efficient American vehicles that will improve our environment and strengthen our economy,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said. “In addition to cutting greenhouse gas pollution, greater fuel economy will shrink fuel costs for small businesses that depend on pickups and heavy duty vehicles, shipping companies and cities and towns with fleets of these vehicles. Those savings can be invested in new jobs at home, rather than heading overseas and increasing our dependence on foreign oil.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood added that “through new fuel-efficiency standards for trucks and buses, we will not only reduce transportation’s environmental impact, we’ll reduce the cost of transporting freight. This is a win-win-win for the environment, businesses and the American consumer.”
Overall, NHTSA and the EPA estimate that the heavy-duty national program would provide $41 billion in net benefits over the lifetime of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles.
The agencies said that technologies involved in the program would include "widespread use of aerodynamic improvements and tire rolling resistance, as well as engine and transmission upgrades."
The EPA and NHTSA are providing a 60-day comment period that begins when the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The proposal and information about how to submit comments is at: www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm and www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy.