Thursday, August 11, 2011

Air Time: More vehicle standards will improve air you breathe

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program

The Obama administration has announced a follow-up to its recent mandate to increase fuel efficiency in cars and light-duty trucks.

This week, the White House revealed the first-ever fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas pollution standards for work trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles. They were developed in cooperation with vehicle makers and operators.

Under this new program, trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018 will cut oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and reduce climate-changing greenhouse gases by about 270 million metric tons.

The standards are expected to yield an estimated $50 billion in net benefits over the life of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles, and to result in significant long-terms savings for vehicle owners and operators.

This is another win for air quality, too – the new standards will mean less air pollution from fine particles in vehicle exhaust. Fine particles cause serious health problems like asthma, heart attacks and lung diseases, and can even cause death. In turn, that drives up health-care costs.

The White House says the cost savings for American businesses are on top of the $1.7 trillion that American families will save at the pump from the fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light-duty trucks.

By the 2018 model year, the program is expected to achieve significant savings in fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions:
  • Certain combination tractors (semi-trucks) must achieve reductions of up to about 20 percent, saving up to 4 gallons of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.

  • For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, separate standards are required for gasoline-powered and diesel trucks. These vehicles must achieve reductions of up to about 15 percent, saving 1 gallon of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.

  • Vehicles such as delivery trucks, buses and garbage trucks must achieve reductions of about 10 percent, saving an average of 1 gallon of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.

Other benefits: The cost of transporting goods should drop, and the new standards are expected to spur growth in the clean energy sector by fostering innovative technologies and providing regulatory certainty for manufacturers.

You can find more information on EPA’s website and on the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration website.

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