Washington — The Obama Administration on Aug. 16 finalized new fuel efficiency standards for buses, large trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles, intending to drive innovation while echoing recent advancements that have seen plastics play a bigger role in cars and light trucks.
Developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in conjunction with National Highway Transportation Safety Administration over four years of testing and research, the new standards are expected to cut more than 1 billion tons of carbon pollution, save about $170 billion in fuel costs and reduce related oil consumption by an 84 billion gallons by the time they are fully implemented in 2027, according to the agencies.
“This next phase of standards for heavy- and medium-duty vehicles will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while driving innovation, and will ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in developing fuel-efficient technologies through the next decade and beyond,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
The changes build on the fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards already in place for 2014-2018 model year vehicles, which were introduced in 2011 and are expected to reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels. This new round of regulations is one of the last major pieces of President Barack Obama's agenda tackling climate change, put in place almost exclusively through policy and regulation changes in the auto industry and at power plants, chemical facilities and oil and natural gas operations in the absence of action from a divided Congress.
Increased Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards enacted in 2012 for cars and light trucks drove innovation in those sectors, with the development of smaller, more efficient engines; consolidated parts design and increased use of lightweight materials like composites.