Supply Chain

U.S. Proposes Tougher Standards for Big Trucks

The Obama administration's initiative is intended to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollution.
Katie Kuehner-HebertJune 19, 2015
U.S. Proposes Tougher Standards for Big Trucks

In its latest initiative to combat climate change, the Obama administration on Friday proposed new standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that would improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration jointly announced the new rules for big vehicles ranging from garbage trucks to 18-wheelers.

They are expected to lower CO2 emissions by about 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.

“These efficiency standards are good for the environment — and the economy,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release. “When trucks use less fuel, shipping costs go down.”

The agencies claim that 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.

According to the Washington Post, the measures are the latest in a series of White House initiatives aimed at addressing the causes of climate change and follow a 2012 effort to cut emissions from cars, as well as a proposal earlier this month to begin the process of reducing pollution from airliners.

“In 2014, trucking spent nearly $150 billion on diesel fuel alone,” Glen Kedzie, a vice president of the American Trucking Associations, told The Wall Street Journal. “So the potential for real cost savings and associated environmental benefits of this rule are there.”

The proposed vehicle and engine performance standards would cover model years 2021 to 2027, and apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks. There would be different standards for the load-pulling tractor unit of large so-called semitrailers and for the trailer it hauls.

The tractor standard will require that a truck built in 2021 and beyond be up to 24% more fuel efficient and emit up to 24% fewer carbon emissions than an equivalent truck built in 2018.

Tom Linebarger, CEO of diesel-engine maker Cummins, said the company “supports the proposed rule and believes it will help our industry grow in a more sustainable way, which is a win for our customers and win for the environment.”