Obama Moves Ahead to Increase Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles
President Barack Obama is moving ahead to increase fuel efficiency standards. While speaking at a Safeway distribution center in Maryland this week, President Obama cited the advantages of the fuel efficiency standards he put in place for both cars and light-duty vehicles, as well as heavy-duty vehicles.
Obama said that he is directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) to set the next phase of fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks by March 2016. In 2011, the Obama administration set the first new standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks which take effect this year and last until 2018.
The standards require combination tractors to achieve a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2018, and require heavy-duty pickup trucks, vans and vocational vehicles to achieve a 15 percent reduction in fuel consumption and GHG emissions by 2018.
Obama pointed out that although heavy-duty trucks only account for 4 percent of all the vehicles on the highway, they are responsible for about 20 percent of the carbon emissions from the transportation sector. They are also responsible for about 20 percent of on-road fuel consumption and haul about 70 percent of all domestic freight. The first phase of standards saves an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs and reduces American oil use by 530 million barrels of oil, or more oil than the U.S. imports from Saudi Arabia in a year. They will also reduce carbon emissions by about 270 million metric tons, or the equivalent of removing 56 million passenger vehicles from the road for a year, and improve air quality by reducing particulate matter and ozone, which will result in health benefits from about $1.3 billion to $4.2 billion in 2030.
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Pickup truck image via Photohunter/Shutterstock.