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EPA proposes new fuel efficiency standards for trucks

The Obama administration announced a new regulatory push last Friday (June 19th) on makers of heavy-duty trucks to increase fuel efficiency by up to 24 percent. The proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would require that freight-hauling tractor trailers reduce fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent and vocational vehicles, pick-up trucks, and light vans reduce by 16 percent by 2021. This is on top of EPA’s current rule which requires heavy-duty trucks in model years 2014-2018 to improve fuel economy by up to 20 percent.

EPA’s and NHTSA’s preliminary research shows that the proposed rule could save  1 billion metric tons of CO2 and 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of vehicles and engines sold under the standard. However green groups are pushing for a stricter standard. The Sierra Club came out with a statement in favor of a 40 percent reduction in fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

The EPA’s draft regulatory impact analysis also contends that the standard will cost $1.4 billion annually, but will save $8.7 billion a year in fuel and $4.9 billion a year in other benefits. Industry support is split. Some are tentatively supportive because of the projected monetary savings associated with fuel costs. However other groups, such as the American Trucking Association, have published statements concerned about the technological feasibility of achieving the rule’s fuel efficiency standards. Others are worried about EPA underestimating compliance costs associated with the rule.

The final rule is expected to be published in January 2017. The proposed rule can be found here.