The federal government on Monday proposed for the first time fuel efficiency and emissions standards for commercial trucks, which official estimates say will be hauling 14 billion tons of freight a year by 2018, vs. 11 billion tons in 2006. A joint initiative of the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, the proposed new rules are designed to eliminate nearly 250 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions during the service lifetime of trucks manufactured in the 2014-2018 model years as well as save 500 million barrels of diesel fuel.
A reduction of up to 20% in carbon emissions and fuel use would be required of tractor-trailer rigs by the 2018 model year.
DRT and EPA estimated that fuel savings would pay for the cost of required upgrades within a year.
The action came three days after the American Trucking Associations announced that it had adopted “a carbon emissions control policy supporting a national fuel economy standard for trucks, rather than government actions to increase fuel prices or alternative fuel mandates. The policy states that ‘carbon emission reductions achieved through national truck fuel economy standards are preferable to government actions that increase fuel prices in an effort to discourage petroleum-based diesel fuel consumption or mandate the use of alternative fuels.’”
“While any federally mandated carbon control program applied to transportation fuels likely will increase the cost of fossil fuels,” said the trucking lobbying group, ”all discussions of carbon control programs should be premised on fundamental principles designed to minimize disruptions to the transportation of goods and to protect the viability of the trucking industry.”
ATA said its new energy policy outlines a framework for evaluating carbon control initiatives and specifies that an effective carbon control program for the trucking industry must,. among other things, produce “cost-effective, verifiable carbon reductions” and “ensure that revenue generated from motor carriers and other highway transportation consumers benefits highway users.”