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Obama Orders New Truck Mileage Standard, Subsidies

Volume 2, Issue 4
February 28th, 2014
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President Obama has directed the creation of new heavy- and medium-duty truck fuel efficiency standards to be imposed starting in 2018.

At the same time he announced $200 million in tax credits to promote the use of commercial vehicles that run on biofuels and other alternative fuels.

Speaking mid-February at a distribution center in Maryland operated by the Safeway supermarket chain, the President said he has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation to come up with proposed new standards by early 2015.

This will build on the standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for the model years 2014 through 2018 which were finalized in 2011.

Obama did not provide any target numbers for the new round of standards, leaving that to the agencies to develop. He stressed that EPA and DOT will work closely with the private sector to write the new standards and explore available technology.

Technology specifically cited by the President included engine and powertrain efficiency improvements, aerodynamics, weight reduction, improved tire rolling resistance, hybridization automatic engine shutdown, as well as improvements to accessories like water pumps, fans, auxiliary power units and air conditioning.

Obama said EPA and DOT also will work closely with the California Air Resources Board to make sure that under the next round of standards truck manufacturers can build a single national fleet.

The proposal drew support from truck equipment manufacturers and, with some qualifications, from American Trucking Associations, which also supported the 2011 changes. “We should make sure that new rules don’t conflict with safety or other environmental regulations, nor should they force specific types of technology onto the market before they are fully tested and ready,” ATA President Bill Graves said.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes the new standards, arguing they will drive up truck equipment costs unfairly.

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