WASHINGTON (CN) - The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have announced a joint rule making process to develop fuel efficiency and green house gas emissions standards for heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
The agencies are acting in response to a memorandum from President Obama issued in May calling on the two agencies to develop standards that would fulfill the opportunity he said the U.S. has to "lead the world in the development of a new generation of clean cars and trucks through innovative technologies and manufacturing that will spur economic growth and create high-quality domestic jobs, enhance our energy security and improve our environment."
The agencies already have proposed rules covering cars and light duty trucks and propose the first ever joint framework for heavy duty vehicles-ranging from large pickups to sleeper-cab tractors-which together represent the second largest contributor to oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, after light-duty passenger cars and trucks. Heavy duty vehicles account 12 percent of all U.S. oil consumption.
The agencies have agreed that the new standards would be voluntarily introduced in 2014 and would be fully phased in by 2018.
The agencies want the new rules to encourage use of existing technologies and give incentives for the early adoption of new technologies to achieve significant greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption reductions while recognizing the commercial needs of the trucking industry.
Based on preliminary research the agencies believe that a 20 percent reduction in both carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption are possible by 2017, using currently available engine and transmission technologies and combinations of more aerodynamic trucks and trailers.
The agencies have held public hearings on the proposed rulemaking and continue to seek public input before issuing proposed rules early next year.