The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are proposing controversial new standards that would improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including the largest pickup trucks sold by General Motors, Ford and FCA U.S.
The proposed rules would apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks. The rules would require a 24% carbon dioxide emissions cut and fuel consumption less than an equivalent vehicle scheduled for sale in 2018, based on the fully phased-in standards for the tractor alone in a tractor-trailer vehicle. The proposed rules would cover model years 2021-2027.
The proposed standards are expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons, cut fuel costs by about $170 billion, and reduce oil consumption by up to 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
These reductions are nearly equal to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use by all U.S. homes in one year. The total oil savings under the program would be greater than a year’s worth of U.S. imports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Foxx said.
“Once upon a time, to be pro-environment you had to be anti-big-vehicles. This rule will change that,” said Foxx. “In fact, these efficiency standards are good for the environment – and the economy. When trucks use less fuel, shipping costs go down. It’s good news all around, especially for anyone with an online shopping habit.”
Foxx emphasized the proposed standards are cost effective for consumers and businesses, delivering favorable payback periods for truck owners; the buyer of a new long-haul truck in 2027 would recoup the investment in fuel-efficient technology in less than two years through fuel savings. The proposed rules are the product of three years of extensive testing and research the proposed rules are especially tough on green house gas (GHG) emissions.
“We’re delivering big time on President Obama’s call to cut carbon pollution,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “With emission reductions weighing in at 1 billion tons, this proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money; and at the same time spur technology innovation and job-growth, while protecting Americans’ health and our environment over the long haul.”
Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles currently account for about 20% of GHG emissions and oil use in the U.S. transportation sector, but only comprise about 5% of vehicles on the road. Globally, oil consumption and GHG emissions from heavy-duty vehicles are expected to surpass that of passenger vehicles by 2030.
(Daily commute diversifying, but drivers still dominate. For more, Click Here.)
DOT officials said the proposal builds on the fuel efficiency and GHG emissions standards already in place for model years 2014-2018, which alone will result in emissions reductions of 270 million metric tons and save vehicle owners more than $50 billion in fuel costs.
The proposal also builds on standards that the Administration has put in place for light-duty vehicles, which are projected to reduce carbon pollution by 6 billion tons over the lifetime of vehicles sold, double fuel economy by 2025, and save consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump. These standards are already delivering savings for American drivers; new vehicles in 2013 achieved their highest fuel economy of all time.
The proposal also targets a continuing reduction in petroleum consumption in the U.S.
“By reducing net U.S. oil usage by the equivalent of about 10% of global production, these developments have contributed to the decline in the global price of oil over the past year. And the decline in the consumption of oil has contributed to the nearly 10% decline in overall U.S. carbon emissions from 2005 to 2014, one of many ways in which smart energy policies can also be good for our efforts to mitigate climate change and protect the health of our children,” noted Jason Furman, chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.
(Click Here for details about the latest controversy surrounding NHTSA.)
The National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers, however, criticized the new standards.
“Affordable transportation is the bedrock of the American economy, and adding – by the Administration’s own estimate – an average of just under $12,000 to the cost of a new truck through mandates based on potentially untested technologies is a great risk to a still-fragile economy.
“Recent history has shown that mandates with underestimated compliance costs result in substantially higher prices for commercial vehicles, and force fleet owners and operators to seek out less expensive and less fuel-efficient alternatives in the marketplace. The costs could even drive small fleets and owner-operators out of business, costing jobs and only further impeding economic growth,” the joint statement for NADA at ATD noted.
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA), however, estimated that the average American household spends approximately $1,100 extra per year on consumer goods to cover the cost of fueling today’s big trucks.
(New bill would tie federal crash safety ratings to use of collision avoidance technology. Click Here for more.)
“As the federal government takes another step forward in addressing the nation’s energy challenges, today’s proposal to increase big truck fuel economy will not only further reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but reduce the cost of everyday consumer purchases,” said CFA’s Jack Gillis.