WASHINGTONPresident Barack Obama has directed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to go forward in developing the next phase of fuel-efficiency and greenhouse-gas standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
The target dates are March 2015 for a proposed standard and March 2016 for a final rule, the White House said in a Feb. 18 statement, noting that the first standard will save owners and operators of heavy-duty vehicles some $60 billion in fuel costs and an estimated 530 million barrels of oil.
The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) praised the announcement and released a report saying that further tightening of fuel-economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks would save U.S. consumers a total of $29.5 billion, or $250 per household.
We know that the fuel costs associated with shipping goods cross-country heavily impact the price of everything from a carton of milk to a pair of shoes, said Mark Cooper, CFA director of research.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) also endorsed the administration's fuel-efficiency goals, but urged the government to proceed cautiously in setting a new standard. Bill Graves, ATA president/CEO, cautioned that 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.
The Diesel Technology Forum said the administration's directive sets the next challenge for clean diesel technology purveyors.
The Heavy Duty Fuel Efficiency Leadership Group, a coalition of truck fleets and advanced technology providers, issued a statement of principles stressing that the second phase of fuel economy and greenhouse gas improvements for heavy-duty vehicles must build on the first.