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August 9, 2011 

New Truck Standards Will Lower Emissions, Create Jobs and Reduce Oil Consumption

WASHINGTON (August 9, 2011)—On the heels of a historic agreement to cut passenger vehicle fuel consumption and pollution, the Obama administration has finalized the first-ever global warming pollution and fuel-efficiency standards for new medium- and heavy-duty trucks. These standards—for trucks sold between 2014 and 2018—will cut fuel consumption across the nation’s trucking fleet, provide important clean air benefits, and create almost 80,000 new jobs, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“This is a one-two punch against America’s oil dependence,” said Brendan Bell, Washington representative for UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program. “The Obama administration is delivering on its promise to bring cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks to the market. This is the most effective way to save drivers money at the pump, clean up our air, and reduce our reliance on oil.”

Combined with new passenger vehicle standards, by 2030 the United States will save more oil than it currently imports from the Persian Gulf.

The new standards will cover a range of truck categories, from long-haul tractor trailers to buses to cement mixers. They collectively represent only 4 percent of vehicles on the road but account for 20 percent of national fuel use, according to UCS. The new standards will boost fuel efficiency and cut global warming pollution across these vehicle classes. For instance, the standards will reduce the fuel consumption of new long-haul tractor trailers nearly 20 percent by 2018.  These trucks, which often travel more than 100,000 miles annually, currently achieve an average of only about 6.5 miles per gallon (mpg) and consume the most fuel of all vehicle categories covered under the new rules.

According to an economic analysis commissioned by UCS, new standards will enable truck manufactures to quickly adopt clean, fuel-efficient technology that in turn will reduce shipping costs and boost jobs and wages across several sectors. The analysis also projected that standards nearly identical to the ones finalized today could lead to a net increase of 40,000 jobs economy-wide in 2020 and nearly 80,000 jobs in 2030.

“The new standards will shift clean truck technology into gear,” said Don Anair, a senior engineer with UCS’s Clean Vehicles program. “They’ll help put Americans back to work by shifting money away from oil companies and back toward local economies.”

According to UCS, current, off-the-shelf technology can provide even greater oil savings and global warming pollution reductions for trucks, including more efficient engines, aerodynamic designs, idling alternatives and better tires. According to a UCS analysis, applying fuel-saving technology to both the tractor and the trailer could deliver savings of as much as 35 percent by 2017. The new standards, however, do not apply to truck trailers, which could account for a third of potential big-rig fuel savings.

Heavy-duty hybrid systems and other fuel-saving technology now entering the market will provide an opportunity to build on the success of this first round of standards, said Anair. UCS has called on the Obama administration to develop additional standards for trailers and a second round of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle standards to obtain additional oil and financial savings and pollution reductions.

The finalized standards come less than two weeks after the administration proposed new global warming and fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. The car and light-truck proposal, which will apply to vehicles sold in model years 2017 to 2025, will set a global warming pollution standard of 163 grams per mile by 2025, the equivalent of 54.5 mpg if met only through fuel economy improvements.

 

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

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