President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum on May 21, directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to create the first national policy to increase the fuel efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks while decreasing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The directive will target new trucks from the 2014-2018 model years. U.S. trucks consume more than two million barrels of oil every day and average 6.1 miles per gallon, while emitting 20% of the GHG pollution related to U.S. transportation. The president also called for an extension of the groundbreaking fuel efficiency and GHG emissions policy he announced on May 19, 2009, which covers cars and light-duty trucks in the model years 2012 to 2016. That national policy represented an unprecedented collaboration between the DOT, the EPA, the world's largest auto manufacturers, the United Auto Workers, leaders in the environmental community, the State of California, and other state governments. The president wants that policy extended to cars and light-duty trucks produced in model years 2017 and beyond.
To further bolster the move towards cleaner vehicles, President Obama also directed DOE to increase its support for the deployment of advanced vehicles, including electric vehicles. In addition, he directed the EPA to explore ways to cut vehicle emissions of pollutants other than greenhouse gases. In his remarks announcing the memorandum, the president called for public and private sector cooperation to develop the advanced infrastructure that will be necessary for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. The president said his administration will work to diversify the U.S. fuel mix, including biofuels, natural gas, and other cleaner sources of energy. See the White House press release, the president's remarks, the Presidential Memorandum, and an article on the light vehicle standards from the April 7 edition of the EERE Network News.
Boosting the fuel economy of new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles could create as many as 124,000 new jobs nationwide by 2030, curb U.S. oil dependence, and save truckers thousands of dollars annually at the gas pump, according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and CALSTART, a leading advanced transportation technologies consortium. The report, "Delivering Jobs: The Economic Costs and Benefits of Improving Heavy Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy," found that increasing the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by 3.7 miles per gallon over the next 20 years would generate net job growth for all 50 states. By 2030, the UCS report projected a net economy-wide savings of $24 billion.
Reprinted from EERE Network News, a free newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy.