US authorities put spotlight on fuel efficiency

Environmental watchdog and Transportation Department have proposed new, higher standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles

US authorities put spotlight on fuel efficiency
Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx eyes emissions cuts.


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have proposed new standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles.

The higher benchmark will demand improved fuel efficiency from these vehicles, reducing the impacts of climate change and improving US energy security.

Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx says the proposed standards will reduce nationwide carbon emission by close to a billion tonnes, while also reducing fuel costs by around US$170 billion.

"Once upon a time, to be pro-environment you had to be anti-big-vehicles," Foxx adds.

"This rule will change that."

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy says the new standards will save trucking operators money over the long term.

"This proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money; and at the same time spur technology innovation and job-growth, while protecting Americans’ health and our environment over the long haul," McCarthy says.

The new vehicle and engine performance standards will cover semi-trucks, large pickups, vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks.

They will be applied only for future models, built between 2021 and 2027.

They do not mandate the use of specific technologies. Rather they aim to establish standards achievable through a range of technology options – including improved transmissions, optimising engine combustion, and use of aerodynamic design improvements.

Manufacturers will be able to choose those technologies that work best for their products and customers.

The proposals will soon be published in the Federal Register, after which a public comment period will be open for 60 days. NHTSA and the EPA are also planning two public hearings on the new benchmarks.

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