Obama orders New Fuel Efficiency Standards

On February 18, 2014, President Obama announced tighter fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles, the latest stage in his effort to tackle climate change without waiting for Congress to act.

The new fuel-efficiency regulations will be drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department and they will be in place by March 31, 2016.

“The goal we are setting is ambitious,” Obama said of his plans to set new fuel standards. “But these are areas where ambition has worked out really well for us so far.”

Although heavy-duty fleet vehicles account for 4% of registered vehicles on the road in the United States, they account for approximately 25% of road-fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transportation sector.

Obama would also like to see the fuel efficiency for light vehicles and trucks improve by 2025.  The light-vehicle standards are eventually projected to reduce fuel consumption by 2.2 barrels per day.

During past efforts, the administration experienced resistance from manufacturers when Washington wanted to dictate the costly improvements. But, now that the administration has made reducing fuel consumption a top priority, manufacturers have sought to have a great voice in shaping these standards. 

Obama also mentioned that his administration is offering a tax credit to manufacturers of heavy-duty alternative fuel vehicles as well as companies that are building infrastructure, so vehicles that running on alternative fuels have places to fill up.

What kind of impact do you think these changes will have on the climate as well as fuel consumption?

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