Here are details of new truck, bus standards for 2014

A new national program approved today by President Obama for trucks and buses to be built in the United States between 2014 and 2018 will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas pollution by 270 million metric tons.

At least that's the hope. The standards should yield $50 billion in net benefits for 2014-18 vehicles and result in significant long-term savings for vehicle owners and operators, the president predicts.

President Obama will meet today with industry officials to discuss these new fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas-pollution standards for work trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles and to thank them for their leadership in creating and helping him approve the historic program.

“While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened,” President Obama said this morning.

“We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks. They were from the people who build, buy, and drive these trucks. And today, I’m proud to have the support of these companies as we announce the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium-and heavy-duty trucks.”

The new national bus and truck standards being announced today are projected to save American businesses that operate and own these commercial vehicles $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the program.

Like President Obama's historic car standards, which will save $1.7 trillion in fuel costs and raise fuel efficiency of cars to around 55 mpg, this program relies heavily on "off-the-shelf" technologies. It was developed in coordination with truck and engine manufacturers, fleet owners, environmental groups and others.

The program is being implemented by the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency.

“Thanks to the Obama administration, 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 Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

“These new standards will reduce fuel costs for businesses, encourage innovation in the manufacturing sector and promote energy independence for America.”

According to a statement from the White House, vehicles are divided into three major categories: Combination tractors (semi-trucks), heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans and vocational vehicles (like transit buses and refuse trucks).

Within each of those categories, even more specific targets are laid out based on the design and purpose of the vehicle. This flexible structure allows serious but achievable fuel efficiency improvement goals charted for each year and for each vehicle category and type, the statement said.

Combination tractors – commonly known as big-rigs or semi-trucks – will be required to achieve up to approximately 20% reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2018. For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, separate standards are required for gasoline-powered and diesel trucks. These vehicles will be required to achieve up to approximately 15% reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2018. Delivery trucks, buses and garbage trucks must reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10% by 2018.

Beyond the direct benefits to businesses that own trucks, the program will also benefit consumers and businesses by reducing costs for transporting goods, President Obama said.

“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,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. 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.”

Hawke Fracassa covers the auto industry from Detroit for You can reach him at [email protected] or (248) 747-1550.

Image source: Wikipedia

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