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May 05, 2014

New Truck Standards: Opportunity to Cut Fuel Consumption 40% by 2025

Did you know the average tractor-trailer on the road today gets roughly six miles per gallon? Thankfully, the Obama administration is taking action to make our trucks more efficient. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) are beginning the process of setting the next round of standards to reduce carbon pollution and fuel use from medium and heavy-duty vehicles (everything from delivery trucks to 18-wheelers).

Building on previous standards, we can reduce fuel consumption in new trucks 40 percent by 2025, when compared to 2010 trucks, with even greater reductions possible in future years.

Setting strong standards for delivery trucks and tractor-trailers is crucial if we are to cut carbon pollution and reduce oil use. Analysis from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that strong standards that reduce truck fuel consumption 40 percent by 2025 would save 1.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2030 - roughly equivalent to our oil imports from Venezuela and Iraq combined in 2011. Such standards would also keep 270 million metric tons of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere annually by 2030, all while providing tractor-trailer drivers $30,000 in annual fuel savings.

These strong standards are technically feasible. Using technologies such as advanced transmissions, low-rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic trailers, we can significantly reduce the amount of oil used by trucks. Many of these technologies are already being showcased, notably in the prototype Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck. Today tractor trailers account for roughly 66 percent of the oil consumption in the truck sector. Using advanced technologies, we can reduce the fuel consumption of new tractor-trailers 46 percent. Similarly, we can improve the efficiency of vocational vehicles (buses, delivery vehicles, garbage trucks) and heavy-duty pickup trucks and large vans.

Right now EPA and DOT are expected to propose the next round of truck fuel efficiency and emissions standards in March of 2014. This is a critical opportunity to reduce oil consumption and cut carbon pollution. The Obama administration should seize this opportunity and set strong standards that reduce new truck fuel consumption 40 percent by 2025.

Check out the great infographic below for more information!

Truck Standards Infographic - Final

-- Jesse Prentice-Dunn, Sierra Club


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