Friday, June 19, 2015

New Rules Would Cut Emissions from Buses, Big Rigs

A Peterbilt hauling lumber. (Credit: raymondclarkeimages, flickr)  Click to Enlarge.
Big rigs and other medium- and heavy-duty trucks plying U.S. highways may become much more fuel efficient if new rules proposed on Friday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are finalized.

The rules, submitted as part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan, seek to increase the fuel efficiency of big rigs, cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 1 billion metric tons and reduce crude oil consumption by 1.8 billion barrels as a way to reduce the transportation sector’s impact on the climate. 

Although the entire U.S. fleet of medium- and heavy-duty trucks represents only about 5 percent of all vehicles on U.S. highways, trucks in that category account for 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions and crude oil consumption from the transportation sector. Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are the driving force behind climate change.  In the U.S., transportation accounts for 27 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, the country’s second-largest source behind electric power generation.

The EPA’s proposed standards would apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all buses and work trucks built for model years 2021-2027.  Manufacturers would be required to reduce fuel consumption in those vehicles by up to 24 percent.

The new standards, which will take effect gradually over the next 12 years, are the EPA’s second phase in improving the fuel efficiency of heavy trucks after earlier standards took effect in 2011.

Though today’s average big rig gets about six miles per gallon, the EPA declined to say how the new standards would affect trucks’ fuel efficiency as measured in miles per gallon.  The EPA is instead measuring fuel efficiency using a carbon dioxide “grams per mile” emissions rate, Janet McCabe, EPA acting assistant administrator said Friday.

Read more at New Rules Would Cut Emissions from Buses, Big Rigs

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