President Obama speaks on truck mpg standards

As promised in the State of the Union address, President Obama has delivered more details on the higher fuel economy standards his administration is working on for big trucks. The proposed plan, which Obama called "ambitious" in his speech today, will be applied to medium and heavy-duty vehicles and comes with three main parts:
  1. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) will need to "develop and issue the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 2016." That means that the historic big rig standards proposed in 2011 (for model year 2014 through 2018 vehicles) will get updated and raised. This is key, the White House says, since heavy-duty vehicles "accounted for approximately 25 percent of on-road fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector" in 2010. For the record, 10.7 miles per gallon represents a highly efficient semi truck.
  2. The government wants the private sector to offer even more efficient trucks, adding things like hybrid powertrains and more aerodynamic designs to the expressway trucks. In 2010, the Obama Administration started the SuperTruck program that is trying to show how a Class 8 truck can improve its "freight hauling efficiency" by 50 percent by 2015.
  3. End the $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies and put the money saved into an Energy Security Trust Fund and use it for things like tax credits for cellulosic biofuels.
The president made the announcement at a Safeway distribution center in Upper Marlboro, MD. Being ambitious is important, the President said, because "these are areas where ambition has worked out really well for us so far. ... Every time someone says you can't grow the economy, while bringing down pollution, it turns out they've been wrong. Anybody who says we can't compete when it comes to clean energy technologies - like solar and wind - they've had to eat those words."

The trucking industry, represented by the Heavy Duty Fuel Efficiency Leadership Group, as well as outside groups like ACEEE and the Union of Concerned Scientists, were all receptive to the proposal, as you can see in their statements below.
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FACT SHEET: Opportunity For All: Improving the Fuel Efficiency of American Trucks – Bolstering Energy Security, Cutting Carbon Pollution, Saving Money and Supporting Manufacturing Innovation

For Immediate Release

February 18, 2014

Year of Action: Making Progress Through Executive Action

In his State of the Union address, the President outlined a comprehensive agenda to make America a magnet for middle class jobs and business investment. The President highlighted the autoworker, who, implementing the Administration's historic fuel economy standards, "fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil." And the President pledged, "in the coming months" to "build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump." The President also called on Congress to do its part "by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas." Today, the President laid out additional details for his plan to improve the fuel efficiency of American trucks – bolstering energy security, cutting carbon pollution, and spurring manufacturing innovation.

Directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to Set the Next Round of Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. Today, the President is directing the EPA and the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop and issue the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 2016. Under this timeline, the agencies are expected to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by March 2015. This second round of fuel efficiency standards will build on the first-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (model years 2014 through 2018), which were proposed and finalized by this Administration and will save vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs and save a projected 530 million barrels of oil.

Partnering with Private-Sector Leaders to Deploy Advanced Vehicles. 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. This public- private partnership helps the nation's largest fleet operators reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating alternative fuels, electric vehicles and fuel-saving measures. 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. Collectively, the National Clean Fleets Partners operate more than one million commercial vehicles nationwide. The President has directed his Department of Energy 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.

Expanding Fuel Choices for American Drivers. In addition to taking executive action to make America more energy independent and cut carbon pollution, the President is also renewing his call for Congress to end subsidies to oil and gas companies and create an Energy Security Trust Fund to fund research and development for advanced vehicle technologies. And he is proposing to support investment in advanced vehicles and infrastructure through a new tax credit and an extension of tax credits to support cellulosic biofuels.

Further Detail on how the President will Continue to Work with Congress to Improve the Fuel Economy of American Trucks – Bolstering Energy Security, Cutting Carbon Pollution, and Spurring Manufacturing Innovation

Directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to Set the Next Round of Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. Today, the President is directing the EPA and the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop and issue the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards by March 2016. Under this timeline, the agencies are expected to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by March 2015. This second round of fuel efficiency standards will build on the first-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (model years 2014 through 2018), and will reach well into the next decade, just like the President's successful national car standards.

Increasing the efficiency of medium-and heavy-duty vehicles (below referred to simply as heavy-duty vehicles) is a key component of the President's Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions. Heavy-duty vehicles represent a major opportunity to cut transportation oil use and carbon pollution. In 2010, heavy-duty vehicles represented just four percent of registered vehicles on the road in the United States, but they accounted for approximately 25 percent of on-road fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. They are currently the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector (passenger cars and light trucks are the largest source). The first round of standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, finalized in September 2011, is projected to save 530 million barrels of oil and reduce GHG emissions by approximately 270 million metric tons, saving vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs over the lifetimes of the vehicles covered. For example, an operator of a new 2018 semi truck could pay for the technology upgrades in under a year and realize a net savings of $73,000 through reduced fuel costs over the truck's useful life.

Partnering with Manufacturers, Labor, States, NGOs, and other Stakeholders. To develop standards that provide long-term certainty and promote innovation, EPA and NHTSA will work closely 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.

Supporting Adoption of New Fuel Efficient Technologies. The second round of fuel efficiency standards will 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

Aerodynamics

Weight reduction

Improved tire rolling resistance

Hybridization

Automatic engine shutdown

Accessory improvements (water pumps, fans, auxiliary power units, air conditioning, etc.).

Partnering with Private-Sector Leaders to Deploy Advanced Vehicles. 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. This public- private partnership helps the nation's largest fleet operators reduce diesel and gasoline use in their fleets by incorporating alternative fuels, electric vehicles and fuel-saving measures. 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. Collectively, the National Clean Fleets Partners operate more than one million commercial vehicles nationwide.

The President has directed his Department of Energy, working with EPA's complementary SmartWay Transport Partnership, 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. Working with the Administration, the private sector partners that have joined the National Clean Fleets Partnership and the SmartWay Transport Partnership are seeing why deploying advanced vehicles is a win-win for them; for example:

Last year, AT&T achieved a significant milestone with the delivery of its 7,500th alternative fuel vehicle (AFV). AT&T has committed to deploying around 15,000 AFVs over a 10-year period through 2018. AT&T's AFV fleet includes compressed natural gas, hybrid electric, all-electric, and extended-range electric vehicles. AT&T's deployment of alternative fuel vehicles enabled the company to avoid the purchase of 7.7 million gallons of gasoline from the beginning of the program through the end of 2012. And over the 10-year deployment period these AFV's will save 49 million gallons of gasoline and reduce carbon emissions by 211,000 metric tons.

Enterprise kicked off a program to make plug-in electric and hybrid cars available to rental customers in major US markets. Four cities have been announced to date (Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland). In addition, more than 80 % of their 500 airport shuttle buses now operate on biodiesel or compressed natural gas. Enterprise's fleet is not only the world's largest, it's also one of the most fuel efficient. Approximately 57.3 percent of their vehicles average a highway fuel efficiency rating of at least 28 mpg, and 28 percent of their vehicles average 32 mpg or better.

Con-Way, a 2013 SmartWay Excellence Award winner, has equipped 100% of its tractors with SmartWay-certified fuel-savings and emissions-reduction technologies, and nearly half its trailers with fuel-saving aerodynamic features. The company's tractors also have automatic idle shutdown, and the company has equipped its tractors and trailers with low- rolling resistance tires to increase miles per gallon and lower carbon emissions.

Partnering with Manufacturers to Support Innovation for the Next Generation of Trucks. Class 8 combination trucks – commonly known as 18-wheelers – serve as the backbone of our domestic freight transportation – hauling about 70 percent of all freight tonnage and over 70 percent of the value of all goods shipped. The Administration's SuperTruck program, launched in 2010 and funded by the Recovery Act and subsequent annual appropriations, is focused on demonstrating that, by 2015, the freight hauling efficiency of heavy-duty Class 8 trucks can be improved by 50 percent.

Through the program, the Department of Energy has partnered with four major engine and truck manufacturers – including Cummins, Volvo, Navistar and Daimler Truck North America – to increase engine efficiency and overall fuel economy from about 6.5 miles per gallon to about 9.75 miles per gallon. Class 8 vehicles have a total weight (including freight) of 33,000-80,000 lbs. and sometimes more; so every mile per gallon gained in fuel economy is worth thousands of dollars in fuel cost savings per truck per year. Since 2010, SuperTruck partners Cummins and PACCAR's Peterbilt Motors Company have demonstrated a 20 percent increase in engine efficiency and a 70 percent increase in freight efficiency, reaching over 10 miles per gallon under real world driving conditions on a Class 8 tractor-trailer. Cummins is now working toward developing technologies to achieve even higher engine efficiency. The other three partner teams are also on their way to achieving a 50 percent fuel economy increase-leveraging a range of aerodynamics and engine efficiency technologies, including waste heat recovery technologies. Daimler Trucks of North America has demonstrated 50% engine efficiency and halfway through their project, Volvo has already demonstrated 48% engine efficiency.

Further Detail on how the President will Continue to Work with Congress to Improve the Fuel Economy of American Trucks – Bolstering Energy Security, Cutting Carbon Pollution, and Spurring Manufacturing Innovation

Expanding Fuel Choices for American Drivers. While the United States will continue to rely on responsibly produced oil and natural gas, President Obama is committed to a long-term policy that allows us to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Establishing an Energy Security Trust Fund to Fund R&D for Advanced Vehicle Technologies. In addition to urging Congress to repeal the $4 billion in subsidies that taxpayers provide the oil and gas industry each year, the President has called on Congress to establish an Energy Security Trust and enact reforms to promote diligent oil and gas development on federal lands. The Energy Security Trust proposal has broad bipartisan support, including retired admirals, generals and leading CEOs, and focuses on shifting our cars and trucks off oil. This $2 billion investment in a range of cost-effective technologies – like advanced vehicles that run on electricity, homegrown biofuels, hydrogen, and domestically produced natural gas – will be drawn from revenues generated from federal oil and gas development. Establishing a dedicated source of funding will allow the Energy Department to maintain targeted and sustained investments that are catalytic and directly advance U.S. energy security.

Supporting Investment in Advanced Vehicles and Infrastructure through a New Tax Credit and an Extension of Tax Credits to Support Cellulosic Biofuels. The President is announcing $200 million in a new tax credit to catalyze investment in the necessary infrastructure to support deployment of advanced vehicles at critical mass. This proposal would be fuel neutral, allowing the private sector to determine if biofuels, electrification, natural gas, hydrogen, or other alternative fuels would be the best fit in different communities. In addition, the President is proposing to extend the cellulosic biofuel producer credit that expired on December 31, 2013. Cellulosic biofuels have the potential to reduce petroleum consumption and carbon pollution while boosting rural economic development. Extending the existing tax credit would accelerate development of this transformative transportation fuel.


Trucking Industry Leaders Offer Guidance On New Fuel Efficiency Standards

Big fleets and manufacturers release statement of principles to inform regulators as President Obama sets deadline for action

WASHINGTON – Some of the biggest names in trucking welcomed President Obama's announcement of firm deadlines for the next generation of national fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles, including 18-wheelers, sanitation trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles. To mark the occasion, an informal alliance of the country's largest truck fleets, top engine manufacturers, and leading technology suppliers released a statement of principles they hope will inform and guide regulators as they develop national fuel-saving rules.

"Finalizing new fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy duty trucks will be an important milestone that should result in significant benefits to our economy, the trucking industry and the environment," said Douglas W. Stotlar, president and CEO of Con-way Inc., the nation's third-largest freight company and a member of the Heavy Duty Fuel Efficiency Leadership Group.

"The development of these new standards continues to demonstrate meaningful progress between government and industry," Stotlar said. "This collaborative approach will result in realistic, achievable goals and an effective regulatory framework to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The Leadership Group formed in 2010 to provide industry input into the historic first-ever national greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles. Today President Obama announced that the next round of rules-Phase II, covering model years beyond 2018 and making further cuts in fuel use and greenhouse gases-will be finalized by the first quarter of 2016. The President directed EPA and the Department of Transportation to meet these deadlines in finalizing the new standards.

"This announcement is another historic milestone for commercial vehicles and the many industries which depend on the efficient, reliable power of diesel and natural gas engines," said Tom Linebarger, Cummins Chairman and CEO. "Collectively, we have made significant progress toward reducing emissions and improving efficiencies – both of which benefit customers, the public and the environment."

"SuperTruck is a prime example of public and private organizations coming together and using technological innovation to drive business and environmental success," said Linebarger. "We're looking forward to building on the success of Phase I and working together to develop Phase II standards that will allow our businesses to be successful and significantly reduce our environmental footprint."

According to the EPA and Department of Transportation, heavy-duty vehicles are the transportation sector's second-largest contributor to oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. They estimate that that Phase I standards will result in a net savings of $42 billion in fuel costs, even when the costs of compliance and new technologies are taken into account.

"As a power management company committed to increased fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gases, Eaton strongly supports the next phase of standards for medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles," said Alexander M. Cutler, chairman and chief executive officer of Eaton, a leading supplier of hybrid power train and advanced transmission systems.

"These standards provide important incentives to help deploy the next generation of fuel efficient technologies. Eaton stands ready to provide cost-effective hybrid and advanced drivetrain technologies that make vehicles more efficient while achieving significant operational savings for our customers' commercial vehicle fleets."

For the first time, fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions rules will likely cover the "trailer" part of tractor-trailers, setting standards designed to ensure that trailers contribute to better fuel efficiency and cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

"As the largest trailer manufacturer in North America, Wabash National welcomes the announcement that the Administration will finalize new standards for fuel efficiency of heavy duty trucks and trailers," said Dick Giromini, president and chief executive officer of Wabash National Corporation.

"Wabash National has been a leader in the development of aerodynamic and other fuel efficiency technology on trailers for nearly a decade," Giromini said. "We look forward to working with the EPA and the Department of Transportation, as well as our customers and industry partners, to achieve new standards that result in greater fuel efficiency and environmental benefits in the years ahead."

As included in the Leadership Group's statement of principles, Phase II provides an opportunity to achieve important economic benefits, while strengthening national security by lessening the nation's overall dependence on oil. Phase II also represents a chance to build on the cuts in fuel costs, oil consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions being achieved during Phase I.

"In 2012, we achieved fuel efficiency gains and truck emission reductions of 20 percent, surpassing our sustainability goal of 15 percent for each by 2020," said David P. Steiner, CEO of Waste Management, which has the largest trucking fleet in the waste management industry. "We plan to achieve more, and hope our continuing fleet conversion to natural gas will inform Phase II program development by maintaining market, fleet and technology choices while achieving significant environmental and energy security benefits."

"Waste Management looks forward to working collaboratively with EPA and NHTSA to develop a successful Phase II program," Steiner said.

The Leadership Group believes that Phase II has the potential to drive more significant technology adoption than Phase I. Additionally, the CEOs say it is important to ensure flexibility and provide incentives as key attributes of any regulations going forward.

The Leadership Group also advises that some of the features that made Phase I regulations relatively easy to comply with-including a single national standard, regulatory certainty over time, and building on existing testing and certification protocols-continue in Phase II.

* * *

The Heavy Duty Fuel Efficiency Leadership Group is an informal alliance of leading companies involved in trucking, whose goal is to inform and support the development of national fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission regulations for heavy duty vehicles.

Its members include:

Con-way Inc. – America's third-largest freight company
Cummins Inc. – the world's largest independent manufacturer of diesel engines
Eaton– a leading supplier of hybrid power train and advanced transmission systems
FedEx Corporation – the world's largest express transportation company, operating one of the world's largest truck fleets
Wabash National Corporation – North America's largest manufacturer of semi- trailers
Waste Management, Inc. – operates North America's largest refuse fleet


ACEEE Statement on President Obama's New Fuel Efficiency Standards For Heavy Trucks

(Washington, D.C.): In response to President Obama's speech today on new fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks, ACEEE Transportation Program Director Therese Langer made the following statement:

"ACEEE strongly supports the president's work to continue the improvements in heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency initiated through the first phase of standards, adopted in 2011. There are major opportunities to further reduce heavy-duty truck fuel consumption while saving truck owners thousands of dollars per year, and the actions announced today will help to ensure that these savings are realized.

"The president rightly highlights the potential for efficiency through technologies that have not yet fully entered the heavy-duty vehicle market, including advanced engines and powertrains, hybridization, and advanced aerodynamics. His citation of the SuperTruck program, which is demonstrating the feasibility of cutting tractor-trailers' fuel consumption in half by 2015, gives an indication of how significant savings from a strong second phase of the standards could be."

To learn more about further opportunities for fuel efficiency gains for heavy-duty vehicles, check out the ACEEE fact sheet: http://aceee.org/files/pdf/fact-sheet/hd-oil-reduction.pdf

About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit aceee.org


President Commits to Reducing Oil Use of Heavy Trucks
Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicles Program


WASHINGTON (February 18, 2014) – President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to reducing the nation's oil use today with the announcement that his administration will propose and finalize a new round of fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles before he leaves office.

Highlighting the economic and environmental benefits they would bring, President Obama said the new standards will cover medium- and heavy-duty vehicles like school buses and long-haul tractor trailers. These vehicles collectively make up 7 percent of traffic on American roads but account for over 25 percent of the fuel used to travel them. The new round of standards was part of a suite of proposals the president included as part of his Climate Action Plan last year, as well as an essential part of the Union of Concerned Scientists' (UCS) Half the Oil plan.

The announcement of the new standards, with a proposal set for release in March 2015, comes just two years after the Obama administration finalized the first-ever global warming pollution and fuel-efficiency standards for new medium- and heavy-duty trucks. When fully implemented, those standards-which cover trucks sold between 2014 and 2018-will:

• Reduce annual oil consumption by 390,000 barrels per day in 2030, roughly equivalent to the amount of oil we import each year from Iraq
• Cut carbon dioxide equivalent pollution by 270 million metric tons-equal to the emissions from more than 4 million of today's passenger cars and trucks over their lifetimes
• Save individual truck drivers up to $73,000 in fuel costs over the life of a tractor, and
• Lead to a net increase of 40,000 jobs economy-wide in 2020 and nearly 80,000 jobs in 2030, according to an analysis commissioned by UCS.

Research by UCS shows that the new round of standards could take advantage of even greater oil savings and emissions reductions by considering fuel saving technologies across all areas of the vehicle. For example, the current standards apply only to the tractor truck but not the trailer it is pulling. Trailer improvements in addition to tractor improvements could reduce fuel consumption from combination trucks by as much as 35 percent with technologies available by 2017 compared with 23 percent required by the current standards. Looking even further into the future with technologies expected to be available in the next decade, new combination trucks could nearly halve their fuel consumption compared to 2010 levels.

Below is a statement from Michelle Robinson, director of UCS's Clean Vehicles Program:

"The president's announcement today highlights how important it is to reign in the oil consumption of the trucks that transport our food and other household goods across the country. Virtually every item in our daily lives was once transported on a truck, and these standards will ensure that these vehicles are an important part of our country's oil saving efforts."

"According to the analysis in our Half the Oil plan, improving the fuel efficiency of all types of heavy-duty trucks could reduce oil consumption by 1 million barrels a day in 2035, more than the maximum capacity of the Keystone XL pipeline. Taking advantage of these potential oil savings-and the economic benefits and jobs that come will them-will require the new round of standards to look at a suite of technologies available today and in the years to come.

"The EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, working with the California Air Resources Board, should build upon the successful stakeholder engagement from the first round of standards to continue significant and measurable reductions in global warming emissions and oil consumption from medium- and heavy-duty trucks."

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The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe and sustainable future. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.