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EPA eyes 10 percent heavy-duty truck fuel economy improvement by 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation have issued standards aimed at increasing fuel efficiency and lowering greenhouse gas emissions for buses and light- to heavy-duty trucks. Standards for vocational vehicles—encompassing mixer, dump and crane-bearing models typical in manufactured-concrete delivery—call for manufacturers to target improvement of 10 percent in the fuel and emissions categories by the 2018 model year. Standards covering certain combination tractors—potentially including those for bulk cement hauling—call for truck manufacturers to engineer vehicles exhibiting approximately 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions over the same period.

President Obama met with trucking industry officials to discuss the standards, indicating how American businesses that operate and own the covered vehicle classes would save approximately $50 billion in fuel costs over the life of the EPA-DOT program. “For the first time in our history, we have a common goal for increasing the fuel efficiency of the trucks that deliver our products, the vehicles we use at work, and the buses our children ride to school,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “These standards will reduce fuel costs for businesses, encourage innovation in the manufacturing sector, and promote energy independence for America.”

“This administration is committed to protecting the air we breathe and cutting carbon pollution, and programs like these ensure that we can serve those priorities while also reducing our dependence on imported oil and saving money for drivers,” added EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Responding to the EPA-DOT announcement, Mack Trucks Inc. cited support for improvements in fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas-reduction measures. “While we haven’t had a chance yet to thoroughly review the final rule, we were pleased overall with the process, and the degree to which EPA and [DOT staff] involved and listened to the industry,” said Mack CEO Denny Slagle, who attended the White House meeting where the standards were unveiled.