Ecocentric

White House to Toughen Fuel Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles

The President continues his stealth green initiative—tightening fuel economy standards for cars and trucks

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KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Gas-guzzling heavy-duty trucks will get a little more efficient under proposed White House rules

When it comes to environmental initiatives, President Obama’s controversial efforts to impose some form of greenhouse gas regulation on America’s power plants have gotten most of the attention. There’s good reason for that—the utility sector is the single biggest carbon emitter in the U.S., and the future of coal power in particular could decide the climate future of the U.S. But establishing climate regulations for electricity production has been a long, politically fraught process, one that is far from finished.

Under the radar, however, President Obama has scored major successes reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the second-biggest source after power: transportation. In 2011, the Obama Administration established the first fuel standards for medium and heavy vehicles, rules that called for a 20% reduction in heavy-vehicle emissions by 2018—though only for truck models 2014 to 2018. That made a difference; though heavy-duty vehicles like garbage trucks and school buses represent just 4% of registered vehicles on the road, they accounted for about a quarter of the transportation sector’s carbon footprint. The new regulations—which required auto manufacturers to increase fuel economy levels from about 6 mpg to 8 mpg on average—saved an estimated 530 million barrels of oil and reduced emissions by approximately 270 million metric tons over the lifetime of the rules.

Now the White House is announcing new, tougher fuel economy rules for heavy-duty vehicles, targeted to model years after 2018. While the specifics of the rules aren’t clear, Obama will direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Transportation Department to make those determinations and finalize the regulations by March 2016. “Strong heavy truck efficiency standards will not only cut carbon pollution that fuels climate change, but also save consumers money every time they go to a store and save truckers money at the pump,” said Frances Beinecke, the head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement. “This is a win-win for the environment and the economy.”

Obama announced the details of the planned regulations at a speech later this morning at a Maryland Safeway distribution center, where officials at the grocery chain have been working with the EPA to invest in trucks that get better mileage, in part through improved aerodynamics and larger capacity trailers. “Today… We take another big step to grow our economy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Obama.

Siting the speech at Safeway is a sign of how much the auto industry has been cooperating with the White House on fuel economy over the last several years—quite in contrast to much of the power industry, which has been stubbornly fighting greenhouse gas regulations. Already the White House has been able to tighten fuel economy standards significantly on standard-sized cars and light trucks: corporate fleets will need to get an average of 54.5 mpg by model year 2025, nearly doubling what will be required at the end of 2016. When President Obama leaves office at the end of 2016, America’s once-wasteful auto industry will be on the path to significantly better efficiency, cutting oil imports and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It won’t receive the attention that the battle over power-plant regulations gets, but it will be a lasting green legacy of the President’s time in office.

12 comments
StevenLemon
StevenLemon

"When President Obama leaves office at the end of 2016, America’s once-wasteful auto industry will be on the path to significantly better efficiency


Read more: President Obama Announces New Fuel Economy Regulations | TIME.com http://science.time.com/2014/02/18/white-house-to-toughen-fuel-standards-for-heavy-duty-vehicles/#ixzz2tmjqbZn9
"

Hey, Brian, how about posting an article listing all the other ACCURATE projections the Obama administration has made?

Like maybe "The cost of health insurance will go down", or "This stimulus bill will result in 3,000,000 jobs created", or how about "The deficit will be halved by the end of my first term", or maybe "The unemployment rate will fall to less than five percent".


I could go on, but what do I know? I am not a fancy reporter, just a citizen with his eyes open.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

It is really up to the American people now. The nation has two choices. Either let the Dims stay in power and watch everything crumbling down or change them with the Republicans and hold the GOP feet to the fire to ensure correct policies for the betterment of everybody. Nothing more will do. Obama have led this country in what perhaps is the most dangerous point in its history. Another development is that where as before most citizens are well informed about their government, Constitution and country there are now many who are more enamoured with the cult of personality like Obama and Hillary as many of those sending their comments will show.

grassroot
grassroot

Another  move by this  dictator wannabe  to  make costs go up and efficiency go 

down. Destroying  the coal industry  is a big one. Designed to cause 

energy costs to ," necessarily skyrocket."  As he put it.

aztecian
aztecian

it's about time.  we also need to make it very expensive for people(RdNks) to commute in monster 4x4 trucks. 

therigel
therigel

I have yet to see any of Mr. Obama's policies save anybody any money whatsoever.  Most trucking operations try to save as much fuel as possible without having to perform expensive modifications to their vehicles.  As usual, he seems to think the american public is not smart enough to know that resource conservation is a good thing, so he uses that to impose stifling regulations.  Mr. O needs to remember that he is not as smart as all of us;  he needs to keep his ego in check.

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde  This order is a win/win for the nation.  It is supported by Fed Ex andWabash National Corporation and Waster Management, Inc.  It will lower our requirement for oil imports, reduce carbon pollution even more, and cut down on business fuel cost - which will lower the cost for consumers. 


It is up to the American people.   The next election matters.  This was done with the authority of the Clean Air Act.  Want to gut that act?     Vote Republican.  

grassroot
grassroot

@therigel  A far Left tactic to, " deconstruct this nation."  as his

Science Czar said  right after he was appointed by this central 

planner. 

jsfox
jsfox

@therigel And they won't have to expensive modifications to their vehicles now. These standards are for trucks built after 2018.  Next all the technology exists to reach these standard now so there  isno big R&D outlay for the manufactures either


And not save anybody any money what so ever? Seriously you live in a cave or just get your info from right wing sources? Example thanks to O'care my nephew will save $3000 this this year. In the first year of the Obama Presidency my fed tax bill went down and hasn't gone up.

jsfox
jsfox

You mean they can no longer get insurance? This would be the only outcome that would make your statement true.