Obama directs EPA and DOT to develop and issue next phase of fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by March 2016
President Obama has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop and to issue the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 2016. Under this timeline, the agencies would issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by March 2015.
This second round of fuel efficiency standards will build on the phase 1 standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (model years 2014 through 2018) issued in 2011. (Earlier post.) Under the phase 1 program, trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018 will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by approximately 270 million metric tons.
The joint DOT/EPA phase 1 program includes a range of targets which are specific to the diverse vehicle types and purposes. Vehicles are divided into three major categories:
- combination tractors (semi-trucks);
- heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans; and
- vocational vehicles such as transit buses and refuse trucks.
To develop the phase 2 standards, EPA and DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will work with stakeholders, both large and small, to explore further opportunities for fuel consumption and emissions reductions beyond the model year 2018 timeframe. EPA and NHTSA will also work closely with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with the goal of ensuring that the next phase of standards allow manufacturers to continue to build a single national fleet.
The second round of fuel efficiency standards is intended to spur manufacturing innovation and lead to the adoption of new fuel-efficient technologies on trucks and semi-trailers. In developing the standards, EPA and NHTSA will assess advanced technologies that may not currently be in production, and will consider, for example:
- Engine and powertrain efficiency improvements;
- Weight reduction;
- Improved tire rolling resistance;
- Automatic engine shutdown; and
- Accessory improvements (water pumps, fans, auxiliary power units, air conditioning, etc.).
Energy Security Trust Fund and tax credits for advanced vehicles and biofuels. The President also renewed his call for Congress to end subsidies to oil and gas companies and to create an Energy Security Trust Fund to fund research and development for advanced vehicle technologies. (Earlier post.) He also proposed to support investment in advanced vehicles and infrastructure through a new tax credit and an extension of tax credits to support cellulosic biofuels.
In addition, the President highlighted the success of the National Clean Fleets Partnership that he launched to speed the deployment of clean, energy-efficient vehicles and the infrastructure to support their use. To date, 23 major national companies, such as ARAMARK, Coca-Cola, Staples, UPS, AT&T, Enterprise Holdings, and Waste Management have joined the National Clean Fleets Partnership.
The President has directed the DOE to provide each company that wants to partner with specialized resources, technical expertise and support in developing a comprehensive strategy to reduce fuel use and achieve greater efficiency and cost savings.