President Obama on Tuesday introduced fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks projected to save truck operators $50 billion from 2014 through 2018.
Net of equipment and technology costs, savings to commercial truck owners should total $42 billion, the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.
The standards, which will give truck makers a variety of options to meet fuel economy goals, are projected to reduce oil consumption by 530 million barrels. Carbon dioxide emissions will be cut by about 270 million metric tons.
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The final rules also will almost certainly increase the cost of heavy and medium-duty trucks, which already have been raised by tighter emissions rules. The EPA, however, projects a one-year payback period for trucks equipped to meet the new standards, thanks to fuel savings that could increase if diesel costs rise.
The cost to the trucking industry is estimated at $8 billion. The rules cover vehicles ranging from the largest pickup trucks and buses to Class 8 tractors.
By reducing the amount of fuel consumed by trucks, the standards will also squeeze the Highway Trust Fund, which is supported by the federal fuels tax. That puts more pressure on Congress to come with an alternative means of replenishing the trust fund, which supports highway and infrastructure projects.
The fuel economy standards, developed jointly by EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will affect trucks built from 2014 through 2018. A new set of standards will be developed for post-2018 trucks, the agencies said.
For heavy trucks and tractors, EPA and NHTSA will impose a gram per ton mile metric, rather than a mileage standard like those for light trucks and cars.
The agencies issued different standards for nine subcategories of Class 7 and Class 8 heavy trucks based on vehicle weight class, cab type and roof height.
Manufacturers can meet the standards by using combinations of technologies. The rules also create CO2 credits that truck makers can use to hit their targets.
Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @wbcassidy_joc