US President Barack Obama yesterday announced the first-of-their-kind fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles.
The Department of Transport (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards will save commercial vehicle operators an estimated $50 million in fuel costs over the life of the programme.
The agencies says that a typical truck operator could pay for the necessary technology upgrades – such as low-rolling resistance tyres and improved aerodynamics, in a year and then on realise savings of $73,000 a year in reduced fuel costs over the operating lifetime of a vehicle.
The programme, which covers trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles built between 2014 and 2018, will reduce oil consumption by an estimated 530 million barrels and greenhouse gases by around 270 million metric tons.
The standards are specific to different types of vehicle and use, including freight trucks and semi-trucks that pull trailers or ‘big-rigs’, pickup trucks and vans, and ‘vocational’ vehicles like buses and refuse trucks. Petrol and diesel models will also have separate regulations.
By the end of the programme in 2018, trucks, buses and refuse trucks will have reduced fuel consumption by around 10% and emissions by 6-9%, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans will have reduced emissions 12-17%, depending on whether petrol or diesel models, and freight transporters by 9-23%.
The move follows the announcement of fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light-duty trucks up to 2025.
“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened. 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,” Obama said in a statement.
The national programme has been welcomed by the Engine Manufacturers Association and the Truck Manufacturers Association (EMA/TMA), although warned that it would be challenging to reach the new targets in the timeframe.
“The final rule provides a novel program that expands the use of existing fuel efficiency improvement technologies, incentivizes the introduction of advanced technologies, accelerates improvements in medium and heavy-duty truck fuel efficiency and reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” says EMA/TMA president Jed Mandel.
For further information:
Obama unveils next phase of US fuel efficiency standards (1-Aug)
FedEx to add 24 electric and 4000 fuel efficient vehicles to fleet (5-Jul)
US EPA keeps 2012 renewable fuel standards on track (27-Jun)
10 August 2011