EPA sets 10 percent fuel economy, GHG reduction goal for heavy-duty trucks by 2018

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; Mack Trucks Inc., Greensboro, N.C.

The EPA and U.S. Department of Transportation have issued standards aimed at increasing fuel efficiency and lowering greenhouse gas emissions for buses and light- to heavy-duty trucks. Standards for vocational vehicles—likely encompassing mixer, dump and crane-bearing models typical in manufactured-concrete delivery—call for manufacturers to target improvement of 10 percent in the fuel and emissions categories by the 2018 model year. Standards covering certain combination tractors, potentially including those for bulk cement hauling, call for truck OEM to engineer vehicles exhibiting approximately 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over the same period.

President Obama met with trucking industry officials to discuss the standards, indicating how American businesses that operate and own the covered vehicle classes would save approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the EPA-DOT program. “For the first time in our history, we have a common goal for increasing the fuel efficiency of the trucks that deliver our products, the vehicles we use at work, and the buses our children ride to school,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “These standards will reduce fuel costs for businesses, encourage innovation in the manufacturing sector, and promote energy independence for America.”

“This administration is committed to protecting the air we breathe and cutting carbon pollution – and programs like these ensure that we can serve those priorities while also reducing our dependence on imported oil and saving money for drivers,” added EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “More efficient trucks on our highways and less pollution from the buses in our neighborhoods will allow us to breathe cleaner air and use less oil, providing a wide range of benefits to our health, our environment and our economy.”

Responding to the EPA-DOT announcement, Mack Trucks cited support for improvements in fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction measures. “While we haven’t had a chance yet to thoroughly review the final rule, we were pleased overall with the process, and the degree to which EPA and [DOT staff] involved and listened to the industry,” said Mack CEO Denny Slagle, who attended the White House meeting. “Certainly the regulation will challenge the industry, but our past success gives us confidence we’ll meet the challenge. Our focus now is on doing so in a way that minimizes any negative consequences for our customers.”