Commercial Vehicles Next for Emissions Regulation

Jan 27, 2011

Commercial vehicles will become cleaner, more fuel-efficient — and more expensive — when fuel economy and carbon emission standards that the federal government proposed in October begin to take effect.

The standards, mandated by President Obama last May and proposed jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, present the first-ever attempt to institute industry-wide regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel use at the same time.

The regulations will become final in July 2011 and are scheduled to become effective with 2014 model year trucks.

The government is putting forward “a strong and comprehensive national program that will oversee fuel-efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, whether pickups, vans, buses or semi-trucks,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Oct. 25 when he announced the proposed standards.

“A clear national standard will lead to more fuel-efficient vehicles and help lower fuel costs for drivers,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said during a conference call with the news media.

All on-road vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds and more are included. Exceptions are those cars and light trucks above that weight covered under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for model years 2012-2016.

The proposed standards group commercial trucks into three broad groups with several sub-categories in an effort to account for commercial trucks’ many sizes, types and duty cycles.

The standards strike what some industry executives and fleet managers have said is an equitable balance between the government’s drive to reduce pollution and fossil fuel use by the truck transportation sector, and that sector’s need to see a return on investment.

 “This is probably the only regulation, at least from EPA, that I’ve seen in doing this line of work over the last 20 years, that is actually going to be getting us something back in return,” said Glen Kedzie, environmental counsel for the American Trucking Associations.

[via Light and Medium Truck]

Photo courtesy of wonderlane and re-used under the Creative Commons license.