Obama orders tightened fuel efficiency, emissions standards for post-2018 trucks

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Updated Feb 19, 2014

President Barack Obama announced Feb. 18 new greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for post-2018 year model trucks, in a speech today in Maryland.

In his speech, the president directed the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to produce a rule by March 2015 to once again tighten fuel efficiency standards and greenhouse gas emissions standards, nailing down specifics for the president’s Climate Action Plan unveiled in June 2013, where Obama announced his intention to direct such initiatives.

The rule would go into effect March 2016, per the White House announcement, and will build upon the first-ever fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks implemented for 2014-2018 model trucks.

The first round, the White House said in an announcement this week, is expected to save the trucking industry $50 billion and save 530 million barrels of oil.

The next round will save the average truck owner $73,000 in the typical lifetime of a truck, the White House says.

The announcement says that in 2010, trucks made up four percent of the vehicles registered in the U.S. but accounted for a quarter of the nation’s fuel use and emissions.

As the means to achieve greater fuel efficiency, the White House hopes the plan will “spur manufacturing innovation and lead to the adoption of new fuel-efficient technologies on trucks and semi-trailers,” and the EPA and DOT will hope to push improvements in engine and powertrain efficiency, aerodynamics, weight reduction, tire rolling resistance, hybridization, automatic engine shutdown and other parts, according to the announcement.

The EPA and the DOT will be directed to work with industry stakeholders — like manufacturers and trucking fleets — to determine opportunities for fuel savings and emissions gains.

The President also plans to try to form public-private partnerships to help increase adoption of natural gas and other alt fuel vehicles.

The White House says it also plans to continue its work with manufactures in building concept trucks, like the SuperTrucks developed so far working with Cummins, Volvo, Navistar and Daimler, in an attempt to push the average fuel economy of a Class 8 truck and trailer to 9.75 mpg.

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The President in his speech today also is going to prod Congress to end subsidies for oil and gas companies and to create a research fund for research into “advanced vehicle technologies.”