Obama wants new emission standards issued by March 2016

Article by Anita Panait, on February 20, 2014

US President Barack Obama has given direction for the issuance of the next round of fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by March 2016. According to Obama, the move would benefit the US economy via lower costs for consumers and development of new technology while improving US energy security.

The standards are also expected to impose stiffer fuel economy standards on heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, building on rules that took effect in model year 2013. The new standards would also set a fleet-wide average for each maker of heavy-duty vehicles based on the average carrying and towing capacity of its vehicles.

The White House said in a statement that the higher mileage standards are part of Obama's strategy for energy security and dealing with climate change. The previous standard required carmakers to double average fuel economy of their fleets to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The administration has given directions to the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by March 2015. According to the administration, heavy-duty vehicles account for around a quarter of US on-road fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

The new standards as well as the collaboration between the government and vehicle makers have already gained support of industry groups. The American Trucking Association has urged the US government to proceed cautiously with the action. ATA president Bill Graves disclosed that the group supported an earlier round of efficiency standards and "hopes the administration will set forth a path that is both based on the best science and research available and economically achievable."

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