WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Monday announced the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses, including delivery vans and trucks commonly used by laundry and textile rental services.
“In addition to cutting greenhouse gas pollution, greater fuel economy will shrink fuel costs for small businesses that depend on pickups and heavy-duty vehicles, shipping companies, and cities and towns with fleets of these vehicles,” says EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Those savings can be invested in new jobs at home, rather than heading overseas and increasing our dependence on foreign oil.”
“Through new fuel-efficiency standards for trucks and buses, we will not only reduce transportation’s environmental impact, we’ll reduce the cost of transporting freight,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is a win-win-win for the environment, businesses and the American consumer.”
EPA and DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing new standards beginning in the 2014 model year for three categories of heavy trucks: combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vans, and vocational vehicles.
- Combination Tractors — The engine and vehicle standards would reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption by up to 20% by the 2018 model year.
- Heavy-Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans — Separate standards would achieve up to a 10% reduction for gasoline vehicles and up to a 15% reduction for diesel vehicles by the 2018 model year (12% and 17% respectively if accounting for air-conditioning leakage).
- Vocational Vehicles — The engine and vehicle standards would reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 10% by the 2018 model year.
Overall, NHTSA and EPA estimate that the heavy-duty national program would provide $41 billion in net benefits over the lifetime of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles.
With fuel-efficiency gains potentially ranging from 7% to 20%, drivers and operators could expect to net significant long-term savings. For example, it’s estimated an operator of a semi truck could pay for the technology upgrades in less than a year and save as much as $74,000 over the truck’s useful life. Vehicles with lower annual miles would typically experience longer payback periods, up to four or five years.
Technologies including widespread use of aerodynamic improvements and tire-rolling resistance, as well as engine and transmission upgrades, would also yield economic benefits, enhance energy security and improve air quality, the agencies say.
EPA and NHTSA are providing a 60-day comment period that begins when the proposal is published in the Federal Register.
The proposal and information about how to submit comments can be found at www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regulations.htm and www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy.