White House announces new fuel efficiency standards

New energy efficiency standards could save business with commercial vehicles an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs, according to President Obama.

The new standards, established by the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will require commercial buses and trucks built between 2014 and 2018 to reduce oil use by a total of 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas emissions by 270 million metric tons.

By 2018, operators must ensure that fuel use and harmful gas emissions are reduced by about:

  • 20% for combination tractors
  • 15% for heavy duty pick-ups (excluding diesel vehicles), and
  • 10% for vocational vehicles .

While most commercial vehicle operators took well to the news, others expressed concerns.

Some opponents believe small businesses will not have enough time or resources to comply with the new regs in time. Others believe a push for more natural gas operated commercial vehicles, and more guidance on best practices for driver training would be a more effective way to cut fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Still, other opponents doubt the savings that will be made, since vehicle size and other factors influence mileage per gallon.

Late last month, President Obama announced new regs that state light trucks and cars should meet a fuel efficiency standard of 54.4 miles-per-gallon by 2025.

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