Obama Seeks 2025 Vehicle Fuel Standards, Rules for Heavy Trucks

Obama Seeks 2025 Vehicle Fuel Standards, Rules for Heavy Trucks

Image CC licensed by Flickr user nightthree

A month after the federal government finalized fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger and light-duty vehicles, President Barack Obama announced plans to set 2025 rules and create first-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

The president said Friday the moves are aimed at halving fuel use and greenhouse gas pollution over the next 20 years. The memorandum signed today also targets alternative fuel infrastructure development to support plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.

"As a sign of the broad support behind this plan, we are joined by the representatives from more than a dozen car and truck manufacturers, as well as fleet operators, auto workers, labor leaders, environmental groups, and officials from California and other states," President Obama said in a speech Friday. {related_content} "This is going to bring down the costs for transporting goods, serving businesses and consumers alike," he continued. "It will reduce pollution, given that freight vehicles produce roughly one fifth of the greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation."

The new rules finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would raise fuel economy for the passenger and light-duty vehicle fleet to 35.5 miles per gallon, with emissions levels of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile.

Obama requested the EPA and NHTSA immediately begin work on a fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standard with the state of California for model year 2014 commercial medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, with the goal of issuing a final rule by June 30, 2011.

He also wants the agencies to begin working on new rules for passenger and light-duty vehicles that would go into effect for model years 2017-2025.

California was a leader in setting tough fuel economy and emissions rules for vehicles sold in the state, but its efforts led to a years'-long legal battle pitting the state against the Bush-era EPA and the auto industry, which on Friday gave the announcement its blessing.

"The federal government was responsive to our calls for a long-range national program," Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said in a statement. "Auto technologies require long lead-times for research and development, typically 5-10 years and more. Energy providers need time to expand availability of low-carbon fuels and their infrastructure. And introducing new technologies and fuels to consumers takes time to get up to speed. So we need to start now."

Image CC licensed by Flickr user nightthree.