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WH Sets Emissions Standards for Medium, Heavy Trucks

President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum today to expand emissions standards to include medium and heavy trucks and create new standards for cars and light trucks starting with the 2017 model year. The EPA and Department of Transportation will be responsible for implementing the new standards, which represent the first national standard for medium and heavy trucks.

The new standards will apply to trucks built between 2014 and 2018.

Last year, the president called for an average 35.5 miles per gallon standard for cars and light trucks for model years 2012 to 2016. Today, he supported new standards starting in 2017 that would surpass even that figure.

The president said the administration worked behind the scenes with both automakers and fleet operators to craft the new standards. As a result of the new standards, he said the costs of transporting goods would go down. Fuel economy in tractor trailers can increase up to 25 percent using existing technology, he said.

The president also announced that the administration would work with the private sector to develop the infrastructure necessary for plugin automobiles and hybrid vehicles.

The new standards could create over 120,000 new jobs nationwide by 2030, according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists and CALSTART. The expanded standards could provide four times as much oil as could be produced by expanded offshore drilling, according to the report. Efficiency improvements could save class 8 “big rig” fleet truck owners more than  $120,000 per tractor-trailer over eight years and owner-operators more than $80,000 per tractor over 10 to 15 years, assuming an average $3.50 per gallon fuel price.

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