Big Rig and Bus Fuel Efficiency Mandated by US Government

The U.S. Presidential administration has today set the nation's first-ever fuel-efficiency rules for both heavy-duty trucks and buses, this set of rules unfolding over the next several years to hold accountable everything from big yellow school busses to long-haul tractor trailers. This move will, President Obama hopes, cut greenhouse gas emissions and fuel usage by said vehicles, eventually ramping up to further automotive coverage in the future. Heavy-duty trucks and busses accounting for 20 percent of the nation's annual greenhouse gas emissions according to the Washington Post, we certainly feel like these vehicles are the best place to start... or end, rather.

The new rules going into action will require the two types of vehicles mentioned to improve their fuel efficiency by 5 percent each year between 2013 and 2018. This is to be compared to the 2010 baseline set by the industry, all of this the Presidential administration estimates will save 530 million barrels of oil and a total of $50 billion USD during said period between 2013 and 2018. President Obama made a statement on the situation making it known that unlike recent fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars and light trucks recently announced, new regulations have been more than welcomed by industry officials:

"While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened," noted President Obama, "We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks. They were from the people who build, buy, and drive these trucks. And today, I'm proud to have the support of these companies as we announce the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium-and heavy-duty trucks."

With this announcement, all classes of vehicles in the U.S. must meet some fuel efficiency standard or another inside the next few years. Environmentalists as well as industry officials have hailed this newest set of rules as progressive and good. American Trucking Associations President and chief executive Bill Graves noted the following about the half-hour meeting he and several other industry officials and the President had in the Roosevelt Room before the main announcement:

"Everyone was sort of patting everyone else on the back. ... Everybody knows what the expectations are and everyone has lead time to meet those expectations. ... I honestly believe one of the reasons we the users have confidence in this rule is we know how competitive these truck manufacturers, engine manufacturers are." – Bill Graves

Environmentalists noted that the new rules, having been issued jointly by the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency were a step forward in reducing the nation's carbon output. This is positive given that according to Vickie Patton, general counsel for the advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund, since the current fleet of U.S. trucks and busses "consumes nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil per day," and that this new set of regulations would "cut climate pollution by 270 million metric tons."

These new regulations, according to the Washington Post, will improve fuel efficiency of big-rigs (aka common tractor-trailers) by about 23 percent by 2018, boosting its average miles per gallon from 6 to 7.2 during that same period. Heavy duty trucks will become 15 percent more efficient by 2018 and busses upped by 10 percent according to the same sources.

[via Washington Post]