Heavy trucks: Emissions standards proposed, and should be stronger
“In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation proposed standards to cut fuel use and carbon pollution from tractor-trailers and other heavy highway trucks. The standards are an important opportunity to continue to reduce the pollution from trucks.
“Improving the mileage efficiency of trucks is a necessary step to meeting our climate goals and, fittingly, a key part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to slash emissions. Heavy trucks are big polluters because they guzzle diesel fuel. They burn about 20 percent of the fuel used in the entire transportation sector while comprising only about 4 percent of the vehicles on the road.
“We can do better. For example, tractor-trailers–which consume about two-thirds of all trucking fuel–can advance from 6 mpg to over 10 mpg with cost-effective technologies and achieve at least a 40 percent reduction in fuel use and carbon pollution, as described in this fact sheet.
“Therefore, NRDC is urging the government oversight agencies to adopt the strongest fuel efficiency standards possible–achieving maximum feasible emissions reductions–when they are finalized in 2016.”
Cars: Fuel economy standards are working
Thanks to current automobile fuel economy and carbon pollution standards, Americans are saving money at the pump and new vehicles are at their cleanest levels ever. Current low gasoline prices are also contributing to lower fuel bills but we don’t know how long prices will stay down. You can only be assured of lower bills if you use a more fuel-efficient vehicle (or transit, walking and biking) to buy less gasoline. Last week, EPA released data showing that clean car standards are driving reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and improvements in efficiency.
Automakers have been improving fuel economy as a primary means of cutting carbon pollution. Over the last 10 years, new vehicles have improved by 5 miles per gallon (mpg), which is good for the environment and consumers. A jump of 5 mpg means fewer trips to the gas pump and, at $2.50 per gallon, more than $300 in annual fuel bill savings for a typical driver.
In 2016, the EPA, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and California Air Resources Board, will start an evaluation of the fuel economy and carbon pollution standards for model years 2022 through 2025. Based on an analysis by the National Research Council, automakers already appear poised to meet
the 2025 standards using cost-effective, primarily conventional technologies, such as downsized turbocharged engines, 8-speed automatic transmissions, and lightweight materials. The study found that electrified powertrains were not needed to meet the standards for a mid-sized car. Still, we expect the market for electric vehicles to continue to expand to meet customer demand.