fuel standards set for big vehicles
Fire trucks and concrete mixers, semis, heavy-duty
pickups and all trucks in between will, for the first time, have
to trim fuel consumption and emissions of heat-trapping gases
under new efficiency standards announced recently by President
The White House said the standards will save businesses billions
of dollars in fuel costs, help reduce oil consumption and cut
air pollution. The standards apply to vehicle model years 2014
Three categories of vehicles are affected. Big rigs or semis
will have to slash fuel consumption and production of heat-trapping
gases by up to 23 percent. Gasoline-powered heavy-duty pickups
and vans will have to cut consumption by 10 percent, or by 15
percent if the vehicles run on diesel fuel.
The standards also prescribe a nine percent reduction in fuel
consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for work trucks, which
include everything from fire trucks and concrete mixers to garbage
trucks and buses.
In a statement, Obama said people who build, buy and drive medium
and heavy-duty trucks support the new standards.
Obama had planned to unveil the standards at a trucking business
in Virginia, a state crucial to his re-election hopes. But the
trip was canceled without explanation and Obama met privately
at the White House with industry officials.
The White House projected savings of 530 million barrels of oil
and $50 billion in fuel costs over the lives of the vehicles
covered by the new standards, along with improved air quality
and public health.
The administration released no miles-per-gallon equivalent for
the new standards, saying that to do so would be confusing given
the multiple categories of vehicles, the different types of vehicles
in each category and the varying payloads that each one carries.
Officials did stress that the costs of making the trucks more
fuel-efficient – ranging from hundreds of dollars to thousands
of dollars per vehicle – will be recouped through reduced fuel
costs over the lifetime of the vehicles.
It’s the second round of fuel efficiency standards Obama has
The president had also announced a deal with automakers to double
overall fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025, starting in model year
2017. Cars and light trucks now on the road average 27 mpg.
That followed a 2009 deal committing cars and trucks to averaging
35.5 mpg by model year 2016.