Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation announced new proposed fuel efficiency standards for heavy vehicles. The standards, which would begin with 2014 models, would require increasing the fuel efficiency of vehicles like heavy-duty trucks and buses from their current average of 6 miles per gallon (mpg) to 8 mpg. Heavy-duty vehicles comprise only 4% of all vehicles in the United States, but with their low fuel efficiency and high trip mileage, they currently account for 20% of all domestic vehicle fuel consumption. The EPA projected a reduction of greenhouse gas emission by about 250 metric tons and a savings of 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the first five years.
“In addition to cutting greenhouse gas pollution, greater fuel economy will shrink fuel costs for small businesses that depend on pickups and heavy-duty vehicles, shipping companies and cities and towns with fleets of these vehicles,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. The EPA estimates that adopting the new standards will yield $41 billion in net benefits for heavy-duty vehicles made between 2014 and 2018.