Heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency standards announced

Aug. 10, 2011
President Obama has announced new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas pollution standards for work trucks, buses, and other heavy-duty vehicles.

President Obama has announced new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas pollution standards for work trucks, buses, and other heavy-duty vehicles. The standards will save American businesses that operate and own these commercial vehicles about $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program.

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the standards in close coordination with companies that met with the president August 9, as well as other stakeholders, following requests from companies to develop this program. Cost savings for American businesses are on top of the $1.7 trillion that American families will save at the pump from the fuel-efficiency standards announced by the Obama administration for cars and light-duty trucks, including the model year 2017-2025 agreement announced by the president in July.

“Thanks to the Obama administration, for the first time in our history we have a common goal for increasing the fuel efficiency of the trucks that deliver our products, the vehicles we use at work, and the buses our children ride to school,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

Under the new national program, trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018 will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by about 270 million metric tons. This program—which relies heavily on off-the-shelf technologies—was developed in coordination with truck and engine manufacturers, fleet owners, the state of California, and environmental groups.

The joint DOT/EPA program will include a range of targets that are specific to vehicle types and purposes. Vehicles are divided into three major categories: combination tractors (semi-trucks), heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles (transit buses and refuse trucks). Within each of those categories, more specific targets are laid out based on the design and purpose of the vehicle. This structure creates fuel efficiency improvement goals charted for each year and for each vehicle category and type.

The standards are expected to yield an estimated $50 billion in net benefits over the life of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles, and to result in long-terms savings for vehicle owners and operators. A semi-truck operator could pay for the technology upgrades in less than a year and realize net savings of $73,000 through reduced fuel costs over the truck’s useful life.

Certain combination tractors—commonly known as big-rigs or semi-trucks—will be required to achieve up to approximately 20% reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by model year 2018, saving up to four gallons of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.

For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, separate standards are required for gasoline-powered and diesel trucks. These vehicles will be required to achieve up to a 15% reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by model year 2018. Under the completed standards, a typical gasoline- or diesel-powered heavy-duty pickup truck or van could save one gallon of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.

Vocational vehicles will be required to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10% by model year 2018. These trucks could save an average of one gallon of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.

Visit www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm for more information.

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