Obama Rolls Out New Round of Fuel Efficiency Regs for Trucks


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. President Barack Obama ordered another round of regulations for the trucking industry to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) and fuel consumption.

The president directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop new regulations by March 2016, in a speech given on Feb. 18 in Maryland. The new GHG and fuel efficiency standards will apply for all post-2018 year model trucks.

The announcement is not altogether Earth-shattering as EPA issued the states’ first round of fuel-economy regulations for trucks and heavy-duty vehicles in 2011. Those regulations applied to vehicles built in 2014 to 2018.

“We stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the President and his administration in 2011 when the historic first fuel efficiency standards were set for heavy-duty vehicles,” said Bill Graves, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations (ATA). “As we begin this new round of standards, ATA hopes the administration will set forth a path that is both based on the best science and research available and economically achievable.”

ATA Chairman Phil Byrd commented: “Trucking is a very diverse industry and as such, whatever standards the administration sets should reflect that diversity and whatever tests are devised should accurately reflect what drivers face on the roads every day.”

This second round of fuel efficiency standards will build on the previous standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The U.S. government claims that in In 2010, heavy-duty vehicles represented just four percent of registered vehicles on the road, but that they accounted for about 25 percent of on-road fuel use and GHG emissions in the transportation sector.

According to the U.S. government’s website: “They are currently the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector (passenger cars and light trucks are the largest source).”

The first round of standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, finalized in September 2011, is supposed to save 530 million barrels of oil and reduce GHG emissions by approximately 270 million metric tons, saving vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs over the lifetimes of the vehicles covered.

The new regulations will save an average truck owner $73,000 through reduced fuel costs, over the average lifetime of a 2018 model semi-truck.  

“Fuel is one of our industry’s largest expenses, so it makes sense that as an industry we would support proposals to use less of it,” Graves said. “However, we should make sure that new rules don’t conflict with safety or other environmental regulations, nor should they force specific types of technology onto the market before they are fully tested and ready.”

Next Gen. of SuperTrucks

“Eighteen wheelers serve as the backbone of our domestic freight transportation – hauling about 70 percent of all freight and over 70 percent of the value of all goods shipped,” the White House acknowledges on its website.

That’s why in 2010 they launched the SuperTruck program, meant to show that by 2015, class 8 trucks can be twice as efficient.

“Through the program, the Department of Energy has partnered with four major engine and truck manufacturers – including Cummins, Volvo, Navistar and Daimler Truck North America – to increase engine efficiency and overall fuel economy from about 6.5 miles per gallon to about 9.75 miles per gallon.”

Since 2010, SuperTruck partners Cummins and Paccar’s Peterbilt Motors Company have demonstrated a 20-percent increase in engine efficiency and a 70-percent increase in freight efficiency, reaching over 10 miles per gallon under real world driving conditions on a Class 8 tractor-trailer.

Their work continues, according to the Obama administration: “Cummins is now working toward developing technologies to achieve even higher engine efficiency. The other three partner teams are also on their way to achieving a 50-percent fuel economy increase-leveraging a range of aerodynamics and engine efficiency technologies, including waste heat recovery technologies. Daimler Trucks of North America has demonstrated 50 percent engine efficiency and halfway through their project, Volvo has already demonstrated 48 percent engine efficiency.”

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.