Trucking industry groups and environmental activists are hailing new heavy truck fuel efficiency standards that could cut oil use 530 million barrels by 2018.
The first fuel economy standards for heavy trucks will cover vehicles built from 2014 through 2018. Estimated fuel cost savings approach $50 billion.
Heavy trucks consume about 22 billion gallons of diesel fuel in the U.S. a year, and most of those trucks average only between 5 and 7 miles per gallon.
The standards aim to improve the fuel efficiency of heavy trucks 7 to 20 percent, vocational vehicles 7 to 10 percent, and heavy-duty diesel pickups 14 percent.
The American Trucking Associations said the Obama administration should follow the new fuel economy standards with a 65 mile per hour speed limit for all vehicles.
“While it is too early to know all the potential effects of this rule, we do know it sets us on the path to a future where we depend less on foreign oil, spend less on fuel and contribute less to climate change,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.
“Our members have been pushing for the setting of fuel efficiency standards for some time and today marks the culmination of those efforts,” Graves said.
The National Wildlife Federation said the long-term impact of the fuel economy standards would cut 639 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution by 2030.
The standards will cut U.S. oil consumption by 3.4 million barrels of oil a day, said Zoe Lipman, NWF senior manager for transportation and global warming solutions.
“That’s more than we currently get from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela combined,” Lipman said. “That’s a critical step in confronting global warming.”
The rules, crafted with input from truck users and manufacturers, also build on current diesel engines and give manufacturers lead time to develop and deploy new technology.
“This landmark new rule envisions diesel power as the continued workhorse of freight transportation in the clean energy economy of tomorrow,” said Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
“The goals set out in these new regulations build on past progress in making diesel clean, and demand further gains in diesel engine efficiency,” Schaeffer said.
Contact William B. Cassidy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @wbcassidy_joc