Tougher Fuel-Efficiency Standards for Trucks Proposed in the U.S.

Mon, 7/30/2018 - 9:48 pm by Kirsten Rincon

The U.S. Government has been putting a lot of effort into combating global warming and improving air quality in recent years. One of the key parts of those efforts is reducing carbon emissions from motor vehicles, since transportation is the largest source of air pollution in the country. That is why fuel economy standards are becoming increasingly tougher, mandating automakers to build more efficient vehicles with lower greenhouse gas emission levels.

As a result, new cars sold today are much more fuel-efficient than they used to be a couple of years ago, which can not be said about heavy-duty vehicles, though. They have not been affected by the tightening fuel economy regulations as much as passenger cars up until now, but that’s about to change, with the Obama administration recently proposing tougher standards for trucks, mandating a 24-percent reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2027, in addition to reduction of oil consumption by up to 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the rule.

“With emission reductions weighing in at 1 billion tons, this proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money,” Gina McCarthy, chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, said. At the same time, the rules will “spur technology innovation and job-growth, while protecting Americans’ health and our environment over the long haul,” she said.

This new rule will affect a wide array of vehicles, including heavy-duty pick-up trucks, vans, medium-duty vehicles, as well as buses. According to the EPA, only 5 percent of vehicles on the road in the U.S. are trucks and vans, whereas medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles are responsible for 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions and oil consumption in the transportation sector, which makes them major contributors to air pollution and global warming.

These kinds of highly restricting rules, which are often associated with increased operating costs for businesses, are generally not very well received by representatives of the private sector affected by them, but that will not likely be the case with this particular regulation.

“Fuel is an enormous expense for our industry – and carbon emissions carry an enormous cost for our planet,” said American Trucking Association President and CEO Bill Graves. “That’s why our industry supported the Obama administration’s historic first round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and large trucks and why we support the aims of this second round of standards.”

The EPA says that the new fuel-efficiency standards will help cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1 billion metric tons, and reduce trucking companies’ fuel costs by about $150 billion a year.