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United States to develop fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks

25 May 2010

President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to create a National Policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years (MY) 2014-2018. The Obama administration intends to finalize the regulations by July 2011.

Currently trucks in the United States average 6.1 miles per gallon, consuming more than two million barrels of oil per day. They also emit 20% of GHG emissions related to transportation. Great potential exists for significant fuel efficiency gains for large tractor trailers, which represent half of all GHG emissions from this sector—the emissions could be reduced by 20% using existing technologies, according to the administration.

The President also called for an extension of the National Program for cars and light-duty trucks to MY 2017 and beyond. Fuel economy/GHG standards for MY 2012-2016 light-duty vehicles were adopted in April.

Additionally, President Obama directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to provide increased support for deployment of advanced vehicles, including electric vehicles, and directed EPA to reduce non-greenhouse-gas pollutants from motor vehicles.

Concurrently, Canada announced plans to introduce fuel economy regulations for heavy trucks, with a draft regulation to be proposed within several months. The US and Canadian requirements are expected to be harmonized, as it was the case with the fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles.

The announcement at the White House was attended by executives from heavy-duty engine and truck manufacturers, as well as by car makers. The initiative has been supported by the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Diesel Technology Forum. Truck manufacturers indicated, however, that the standards must be feasible and should not adversely affect vehicle performance.

The standards will be the first-ever fuel economy regulations for heavy vehicles in North America and one of the first in the world. Japan is believed to be the first country to adopt fuel economy standards (“2015 targets”) for heavy vehicles.

Source: The White House