The Obama administration is preparing to issue new fuel economy standards and the first-ever greenhouse gas limits for large trucks and buses.
U.S. EPA and the Transportation Department sent draft rules Friday to the White House regulatory review office that would limit heavy-duty vehicles' emissions under the Clean Air Act and boost fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, according to a federal website that tracks new rules.
President Obama announced the latest initiative during a Rose Garden speech in May, where he directed officials at EPA and DOT to expand on a joint rulemaking finalized earlier this year for cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2012 through 2016. Obama issued a memorandum directing the agencies to expand the program to include medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014 through 2018 (Greenwire, May 21).
"While the federal government and many states have now created a harmonized framework for addressing the fuel economy of and greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses continue to be a major source of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas pollution," Obama wrote in the memo.
The first round of standards for cars and light trucks issued in April will slash carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 1 billion metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicles covered, roughly the equivalent of taking 50 million cars and trucks off the road in 2030, according to White House estimates. Vehicles purchased under the new rules will conserve an estimated 1.8 billion barrels of oil over their lifetime.
Preliminary estimates show that large tractor trailers -- which represent half of all greenhouse gas emissions from the sector -- can slash greenhouse gas emissions up to 20 percent and boost fuel efficiency up to 25 percent by using existing technologies, Obama wrote. He urged the agencies to issue final standards for trucks and buses by July 30, 2011.
Obama also urged the agencies in May to begin the next round of fuel economy and emission standards for cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2017 through 2025. He directed EPA and DOT to issue a notice of intent to issue a proposed rule by Sept. 30.