US regulators to unveil final rule on truck emissions limits-sour

The new standards for combination tractors, the largest contributor of greenhouse gases in the heavy-duty transportation sector, built through model year 2027 will produce 25 percent less carbon dioxide and use 25 percent less fuel than those produced under current standards.

Earlier today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced their jointly finalized standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that will augment fuel efficiency and reduce carbon pollution.

DOT and EPA said that the final phase two standards were called for by President Obama's Climate Action Plan in response to the President's 2014 directive to develop new standards into the next decade.

"These standards will not only benefit our climate, but also modernize America's trucking fleet, cut costs for truckers, and help ensure the U.S trucking industry is a global leader in fuel efficient heavy duty vehicle technology", EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy wrote in a blog post.

Schaeffer added that doesn't lessen the need for commercial vehicles to "meet all the latest federal safety requirements and have the highest uptime and reliability, [with] the largest trucks must be able to move 80,000 pounds up mountains at 60 MPH, run 100,000 to 120,000 miles a year, in every corner of the US, while doing it all at the lowest possible cost".

The standards, unveiled as President Barack Obama enters the last five months of his final term, apply to heavy duty vehicles which account for 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and oil use in the USA transportation sector, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The product of four years of extensive testing and research and outreach to industry, environmental organizations, labor unions, and other stakeholders, the vehicle and engine performance standards would cover model years 2021-2027, and apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks.

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"As the primary manufacturers of medium and heavy-duty engines and vehicles in the United States, EMA members are in the process of implementing the Phase 1 GHG/FE standards", says Jed Mandel, president of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA).

McCarthy does admit the regulations will likely increase the cost for a new truck, but suggested the additional cost would be "recouped within 2-4 years, saving truck owners more over the long haul".

A truck engine is tested for pollution exiting its exhaust pipe as California Air Resources field representatives (unseen) work a checkpoint set up to inspect heavy-duty trucks traveling near the Mexican-U.S. border in Otay Mesa, California September 10, 2013. "These mandates can be met with the adoption of the clean, efficient and cost effective opposed-piston engine, which will be the baseline engine for the industry moving forward".

Not surprisingly, many groups were pleased with the proposed standards. "We support the national harmonization of commercial vehicle standards and requirements through both technological and operational means". Truck sales were up in model years 2014 and 2015, the years covered under the first round of truck standards.

That's why companies that rely on trucking fleets support strong efficiency standards.

"Efficiency buys you time, reducing emissions while you develop new technology", Harvey said before the release of the regulations.

"Challenging standards, like the GHG II regulations, help to drive American innovation and provide benefits for both consumers and innovators", Johnson continued.

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