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First-ever heavy-duty truck efficiency standards announced

If you’re not sure why today’s announcement from the Obama Administration about the first-ever fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses is important, read this.

Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s take a look at the new standards. These aren’t specific MPG targets like passenger vehicles have. Instead, different vehicle categories have different improvement targets. The headline numbers from the EPA are that the new standards will save $50 billion in fuel costs and around 530 million barrels of oil over the life of new trucks built between 2014 and 2018.

To put that in perspective, the U.S. uses around 19 million barrels of oil a day, so we’ll be saving just under a month’s worth of the entire country’s appetite for oil from heavy-duty trucks built during these four years.

As for the standards themselves, semi trucks are required to achieve a 20-percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gasses by 2018, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans a 15-percent reduction, and vocational vehicles (buses, garbage trucks, etc.) a 10-percent reduction. The improvements will come from mostly off-the-shelf technologies, and a second phase dealing with trucks built after 2018 will require the use of more advanced tech and save even more fuel.

Similar to the passenger car and light truck standards that were proposed the other day, initial response to the heavy-duty truck standards has been universally popular. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since the administration worked with “truck and engine manufacturers, fleet owners, the State of California, environmental groups and other stakeholders” to develop the standards. The Heavy Duty Fuel Efficiency Leadership Group, for example, endorsed the rules, which you can read for yourself, as well as more reactions, after the jump.

I am an owner operator. I spend about $70,000 per year on fuel. Doing everything I can to increase milage. Amazing though the US GOVT. Requires American trucks to run on fuel containing 15 parts per million sulphur, Mexican trucks can run on the old 500 ppm diesel fuel. Everytime we get our fuel consumption heading in the positive direction the US EPA takes it away with EGR valves ETC.

A lot of bus companies all over the country are running on Natural Gas already. Many did the conversion and now are actually buying Bus’s designed to run on Natural Gas.

Most trucks are streamlined like a barn going down the road. As an example, when I see one of those huge flat chrome bumpers I wonder if something could be done to let them move more easily through the air.

It seems like the trucking industry will be heading in the same direction the automobiles went through in the 70s and 80s. Hopefully it won’t take them 20 years before they figure out how to get it right