WASHINGTON (CN) – Starting in 2014, new heavy duty vehicles will have to meet strict greenhouse gas emission and fuel economy standards.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designed the standards to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 270 million metric tons and save 530 million barrels of oil over the life vehicles in the model years 2014 through 2018. The rules will apply to vehicles such as the largest pickup trucks, vans, semi trucks, work trucks and buses.
The rules are the first ever to mandate fuel economy and emission standards for heavy duty vehicles, which are the second highest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.
The agencies began developing the new rules after President Obama announced the need for a new generation of clean vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate the economy and reduce the nation’s dependence on imported oil on May 21, 2010.
At that time the president said that in addition to reducing CO2 emissions and saving oil the new standards would create 700,000 jobs over the course of the twenty year life span of vehicles manufactured under the standards. Overall, the agencies estimate that the standards will cost the transportation sector approximately $7.7 billion, and generate total societal benefits of $49 billion from new jobs, costs saved on fuel, and avoided environmental impacts.
The new rules use two different standards, a payload-dependent gram per mile (and gallon per 100-mile) standard for pickups and vans; and gram per ton-mile (and gallon per 1,000 ton-mile) standards proposed for vocational vehicles and combination tractors to account for the fact that the work to move heavier loads burns more fuel, and emits more CO2 than in moving lighter loads.
Under the new rules semi-trucks that pull most of the nation’s freight will reduce their emissions and consumption by 20 percent compared to the 2010 model year. Diesel powered heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans would see emissions reductions of approximately 17 percent and fuel savings of 15 percent while vehicles running on gasoline will have reduced emissions of 12 percent and fuel savings of 10 percent.
Vocational vehicles including delivery trucks, garbage trucks, dump trucks, cement trucks, tow trucks, transit buses, shuttle buses, school buses, emergency vehicles, motor homes, will have see emissions reductions between seven and 12 percent while fuel economy will vary wisely depending on the vehicle’s configuration but it is estimated to be less that the savings realized by larger vehicles.The EPA extrapolated the benefits of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the new standards out to the year 2100, finding that although the overall impact is small it is meaningful and serves as an example of what could be accomplished if such standards were applied globally. In 2100 the EPA estimates that the global rise in mean temperature will be reduced by between 0.0017 and 0.0042 degrees centigrade. The rise of sea levels, which corresponds closely to increases in temperature, will be reduced by between 0.017 to -0.040 centimeters the EPA estimates.The rules are effective Nov. 14, 2011 and the standards are phased in, depending on the standard and the class of vehicle, across model years 2014 to 2016.