While federal authorities continue debating a massive jump in fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks, a big increase in mileage requirements for heavy-duty vehicles is set to be formally announced as early as today.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation are reportedly set to require increases of anywhere from 10% to 20% in fuel economy, depending on the size of the truck. The new standards would cover everything from 18-wheelers to school buses, garbage trucks to heavy-duty pickups.
The new rules, which would go into effect in 2014 and extend through 2018, would require a 20% increase in the mileage of the long-haul trucks that handle a huge percentage of America’s freight shipments.
Such trucks are routinely driven 150,000 miles or more annually, and average between 5 and 8 mpg. That means the proposed increase might save as much as 6,000 of fuel per long-haul truck – the equivalent of what a dozen automobiles consumer annually.
In all, medium and heavy-duty trucks consume about 20% of the transportation fuel used in the United States.