New Rules: Obama Fuels Plan to Reduce Truck Pollutionby Jana Ritter - Published: 6/19/2015
On Friday the Obama administration announced its plan to instill tougher emission standards in order to reduce carbon-dioxide pollution by 24 percent over the next 12 years. The new rules, designed by the Environmental Protection Agency, would impact the entire industry from trucking companies, to automakers, to logistics companies, trucking rates and of course truck drivers as well.
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According to research presented by the administration, medium and heavy-duty vehicles only make-up about 5 percent on U.S. roads but they account for nearly 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and oil use in the U.S. transportation sector. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that this alone is severely impacting the environment and contributing to climate change, and that the new rules will not only help the environment but the economy as well. He says these changes will be “good new all around” because as trucks use less fuel, shipping costs will go down.
"With emission reductions weighing in at 1 billion tons, this proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money," McCarthy said. He also adds that the rules will "spur technology innovation and job-growth as truck and engine manufactures will be producing more energy efficient models.
The American Trucking Association says that although the industry basically supports the new rules, some are concerned that it may result in the premature use of new technologies on vehicles before they can be fully tested. "Fuel is an enormous expense for our industry - and carbon emissions carry an enormous cost for our planet. That's why our industry supported the Obama administration's historic first round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and large trucks and why we support the aims of this second round of standards,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. But Graves and other industry officials still stress that truck and engine manufacturers need sufficient time to develop solutions that meet the new standards without compromising the safety and efficiency of trucking operations.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association of Grain Valley, Missouri, agreed with the ATA and said that these rules may also "push truckers to purchase technology that is not fully tested and may lead to costs such as increased maintenance and down time that will eclipse the potential savings estimated in the proposal."
The proposed standards would apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks, and would include model years 2021-2027, building on the fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards already in place for model years 2014-2018. The proposed rules come after other recent actions by Obama including a new federal rule regulating small streams and wetlands and a separate rule to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes. The administration also says this summer it plans to move ahead with its plan to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, something that Republicans have vowed to stop.