EPA proposes tougher fuel-efficiency standards for trucks

US proposes tougher fuel-efficiency standards for trucks
A truck heads eastbound on Rt 50 in Bowie, Md., Friday, June 19, 2015. The Obama administration on Friday proposed tougher mileage standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, the latest move by President Barack Obama in his second-term drive to reduce pollution blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Obama administration on Friday proposed tough new standards to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide pollution from trucks and vans, the latest move by President Barack Obama to address global warming.

The new rules are designed to slash heat-trapping carbon emissions by 24 percent by 2027 while reducing oil consumption by up to 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the rule.

Medium and heavy-duty vehicles account for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and oil use in the U.S. transportation sector, polluting the air and contributing to climate change. The trucks and vans comprise only 5 percent of vehicles on the road.

The proposal comes amid a flurry of recent actions by Obama on the environment, including a new federal rule regulating small streams and wetlands and a separate rule to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes.

The administration also is expected to move forward this summer on its plan to curb carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, a rule Republicans in Congress have vowed to stop.

The long-expected trucks rule comes one day after Pope Francis issued a teaching document calling for the world to take action to slow climate change.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the new rules would help the environment and the economy, as trucks use less fuel and shipping costs go down. Foxx called the rules "good news all around."

Gina McCarthy, chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, said the plan would deliver "big time" on Obama's call to cut carbon pollution.

"With emission reductions weighing in at 1 billion tons, this proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money," McCarthy said. At the same time, the rules will "spur technology innovation and job-growth, while protecting Americans' health and our environment over the long haul," she said.

US proposes tougher fuel-efficiency standards for trucks
Trucks head eastbound on Rt 50 in Bowie, Md., Friday, June 19, 2015. The Obama administration on Friday proposed tougher mileage standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, the latest move by President Barack Obama in his second-term drive to reduce pollution blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Under the new rule, a best-in-class, long-haul truck carrying 68,000 pounds of cargo is expected to get at least 10 miles per gallon, up from a range of 5 to 7 miles per gallon today, the EPA said. Vehicle owners would recoup costs associated with the rule within two years because of reduced fuel consumption, officials said.

Partly because of those expected savings, the truck rule appeared to generate less controversy than some of the previous regulations the EPA has issued on climate change, although the industry was still reviewing the proposal.

The American Trucking Association said industry generally supports the new rules, but remains concerned that it may result in use of technologies on vehicles before they can be fully tested. Trucks carry goods from produce to timber and oil, as well as packages from major companies such as Amazon, on highways across the country.

"Fuel is an enormous expense for our industry - and carbon emissions carry an enormous cost for our planet," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "That's why our industry supported the Obama administration's historic first round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and large trucks and why we support the aims of this second round of standards."

Still, Graves and other officials said truck and engine manufacturers need time to develop solutions to meet the new standards.

The proposed standards would cover model years 2021-2027 and apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks, officials said.

The National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers blasted the rule, saying it would add an average of nearly $12,000 to the cost of a new truck.

US proposes tougher fuel-efficiency standards for trucks
Trucks head eastbound on Rt 50 in Bowie, Md., Friday, June 19, 2015. The Obama administration on Friday proposed tougher mileage standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, the latest move by President Barack Obama in his second-term drive to reduce pollution blamed for global warming. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

"Recent history has shown that mandates with underestimated compliance costs result in substantially higher prices for commercial vehicles, and force fleet owners and operators to seek out less-expensive and less fuel-efficient alternatives in the marketplace," the groups said in a statement.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association of Grain Valley, Missouri, which counts 150,000 members, said it was concerned that the rules would "push truckers to purchase technology that is not fully tested and may lead to costs such as increased maintenance and down time that will eclipse the potential savings estimated in the proposal."

Once completed, the rules are expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions by about 1 billion metric tons.

The rule builds on fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards already in place for model years 2014-2018. Those rules are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 270 million metric tons and save vehicle owners more than $50 billion in fuel costs, compared to previous standards.

Environmental groups cheered the new rule.

"Anyone who's ever been stuck behind a truck or bus knows how much they pollute," said Travis Madsen of Environment America, an advocacy group. "Making trucks go farther on a gallon of fuel can curb pollution, help save the planet and save money," he said.

The proposed rules will be open to public comment for at least two months and would be completed next year.


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Obama calls for new truck fuel standards

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Jun 20, 2015
the rules will "spur technology innovation and job-growth


Transport companies are already balancing the cost of fuel-saving technology and the cost of fuel to minimize their cost per mile, to maximize their profit.

It means that forcing them to increase fuel efficiency increases the cost of transportation because the technology to reduce fuel consumption costs more than the fuel it saves. It means jobs will be lost, rather than created, because cost-effective transportation is at the heart of all industries. With rising cost, there's decreasing demand for the products, and then layoffs.

Rather than force the industry to pay more, the government should invest in R&D for the technology to reduce fuel consumption, and then give the results to the car industry. When the technology is cheaper than the fuel it saves, it will be automatically adopted across the board because nobody wants to burn money.


Jun 20, 2015
What I mean is; the transport industry is already taking such marginal measures as programming their navigators to avoid left turns in order to spend less time in traffic. They're obviously already scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of what cost-effective means they have to lower fuel consumption.

The fuel economy of the fleet improves as the old stock reaches the end of its life and becomes uneconomical to keep. New trucks will have better fuel economy anyways, because the industry is constantly seeking ways to save money.

If the industry won't meet the standard without forcing, then the standard is most likely to be counter-productive and will increase the cost of transport by forcing measures that cost more than they save.

In other words, the standard is unnecessary. The EPA and the administration simply appear to believe that the companies are stupid - that they're wasting fuel for fun.

Jun 20, 2015
"Fuel is an enormous expense for our industry - and carbon emissions carry an enormous cost for our planet," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "That's why our industry supported the Obama administration's historic first round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and large trucks and why we support the aims of this second round of standards."

http://www.usnews...r-trucks

@Eikka

So the industry is stupid for supporting the standards?

Jun 20, 2015
"It means that forcing them to increase fuel efficiency increases the cost of transportation because the technology to reduce fuel consumption costs more than the fuel it saves. It means jobs will be lost, rather than created, because cost-effective transportation is at the heart of all industries."
---------------------------------

My god, Eikka, I know paranoiacs with fewer fears of troubles than you.

Jun 20, 2015
Fortune magazine has an interesting article related to this subject. Applies only to diesel engines.
http://fortune.co...-engine/

"Cummins continues to work closely with the EPA on the next generation of standards. Wall, coincidentally, had been meeting with agency officials the day before giving an interview to Fortune. "We'll take [regulators] through technologies being developed, explain how long it will take to get them to market," Wall says, hoping that the industry's needs are on their minds when the rules are finally written. "

The companies that are forward thinking enough to invest in R&D will reap the rewards of market share, as well as being in a position to influence the timetable of EPA regulation for their industry.

Jun 20, 2015
@Estevan57

I read the Fortune article a few weeks ago and it is excellent! Thanks for linking it.

Jun 25, 2015
So the industry is stupid for supporting the standards?


The standards are rather irrelevant to the industry because they know they're going there anyways. It's just good PR for both parties - the administration gets to pretend they're doing something, and the transport industry gets to pretend they have green values other than money.

My god, Eikka, I know paranoiacs with fewer fears of troubles than you.


It seems that simple common-sense logic counts as mental illness for you.

It's only reasonable to assume that an industry that strives for profit is already operating at or near the minimum cost-point for what technology is available; trying to force a change will only drive them away from that equilibrium towards higher cost.

Jun 25, 2015
"We'll take [regulators] through technologies being developed, explain how long it will take to get them to market," Wall says, hoping that the industry's needs are on their minds when the rules are finally written. "

The companies that are forward thinking enough to invest in R&D will reap the rewards of market share, as well as being in a position to influence the timetable of EPA regulation for their industry.


So it's really the industry that writes the standards.

That can also be read as: the large corporations are tripping their competitors by regulating them out of the market. It's for the benefit of the largest manufacturers with the largest R&D budgets, while the smaller companies go bust because they have no options but to license the technology from the large corporation and effectively become their subsidiaries.

In other words, it's a form of crony capitalism - abusing state power to avoid competition in the marketplace.

Jun 25, 2015

It means that forcing them to increase fuel efficiency increases the cost of transportation

It means that they actually have a chance of exporting their trucks. The current US fuel standards are a big problem for US car makers in any marker besides the US. No one wants to buy a gas guzzler because fuel isn't cheap anywhere else (besides Saudi Arabia or so).

The companies making these trucks aren't supporting it for the love of the environment. They are supporting it because otherwise they would be faced with a choice: Make more expensive -but efficient- trucks for export and give up any chance of competing on the US market? Or keep making the old trucks and give up any chance of exporting trucks.

This way EVERYONE of their competitors is forced to make the same choice and they can all export AND sell on the US market. It's win-win for the truck industry.

Jun 25, 2015
he current US fuel standards are a big problem for US car makers in any marker besides the US.


How can the standards be a problem? The car companies already make trucks that conform to foreign standards for foreign markets. You can find eg. Ford trucks everywhere across the globe.

They just can't export the exact same trucks they sell in the US.

The fuel is more expensive in the EU so their cost-benefit calculations favor the smaller, lighter, less powerful and more expensive but higher efficiency trucks. In the US the lower fuel prices favor larger, cheaper, more powerful rigs that pull bigger loads.

Jun 25, 2015




Vice versa: you could import a fuel-efficient euro-truck into the US but nobody would buy it because it costs more and hauls less cargo as a tradeoff.


Your statement would come as a shock to Mercedes Benz.

http://www.daimle...ler.aspx

Jun 25, 2015
they would be faced with a choice: Make more expensive -but efficient- trucks for export and give up any chance of competing on the US market? Or keep making the old trucks and give up any chance of exporting trucks.


That's a false dilemma, since they're already making both.

All the major car manufacturers have subsidiaries in every major market area to cater to that specific market. Even the exact same model of a car is customized to meet the specific market,

Here's the real issue: Toyota is selling a Corolla in the EU with a 1.4 liter manual that puts out 99 HP, and in the US the same car comes with a 1.8 liter automatic that puts out 132 HP. Nobody in the US would buy the EU version because it's too puny, and nobody in the EU would buy the US version because of the "poor" fuel economy.

The major difference here is that in the EU the governments are slapping 60-70-80% tax on fuel prices while in the US they don't.

Jun 25, 2015
Your statement would come as a shock to Mercedes Benz.


Guess how they do it?

They make the same sort of trucks as every other American company. It doesn't take much to figure that MB in the US is like Ford in Europe - customized for the market.

The point I was trying to make, which apparently went not understood, was that you couldn't sell a euro-standard truck in the US because the US standard trucks in the US are better value for the money.

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