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Administration Announces New Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Trucks and Buses

The Obama administration announced first-of-their-kind national standards today to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and increase the fuel economy of heavy-duty trucks and buses.

The rules start with model year 2014 heavy-duty trucks and buses and require up to a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions for 2018 vehicles. The specific emissions reduction requirements vary depending on the type of vehicle.

On a conference call with reporters today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said the move is the latest in a series of incremental steps by the Obama administration to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The rules gain new meaning now that it appears the Senate will be unable to pass significant climate change legislation anytime soon.

“This is a transition to more energy efficiency, a transition to lower pollution, a transition to less carbon in our atmosphere,” Jackson said. She also warned that any effort in Congress to curtail the EPA’s power to address greenhouse gas emissions could affect the rules.

Here are some statistics about the program, from an Environmental Protection Agency/Department of Transportation statement (the numbers refer to cumulative effects over the lives of vehicles from model years 2014-2018):

  • The program is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 250 million metric tons.
  • It is projected to save 500 million barrels of oil.
  • It will also result in $41 million in net benefits over the lifetime of model year 2014-2018 vehicles.

If you want to get specific, here are the emission reduction requirements for each class of vehicle, according to a statement on the proposal:

For combination tractors, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards that begin in the 2014 model year and achieve up to a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption by 2018 model year. For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, the agencies are proposing separate gasoline and diesel truck standards, which phase in starting in the 2014 model year and achieve up to a 10 percent reduction for gasoline vehicles and 15 percent reduction for diesel vehicles by 2018 model year (12 and 17 percent respectively if accounting for air conditioning leakage). Lastly, for vocational vehicles, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards starting in the 2014 model year which would achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 2018 model year.

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