Chicago Hosts First Public Hearing for Proposed Clean Truck Standards

EDF Expert Testifies for Stronger Standards to Reduce Pollution and Fuel Use, Save Money

August 6, 2015
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396,

(Chicago – August 6, 2015) The first public hearing on a proposal to improve fuel economy and reduce climate pollution from America’s freight trucks and buses is taking place in Chicago today.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will hear testimony about their proposed greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for the nation’s freight trucks and buses.

Environmental Defense Fund’s Jason Mathers will testify that, while the standards represent an important step forward, they must be strengthened to spur more extensive deployment of the cost-effective technologies that are available. Those technologies will enable us to secure the climate, health, economic and security benefits we need to protect our communities and to build a prosperous clean energy economy. 

“Freight trucks are one of the single fastest growing sources of climate disrupting emissions,” said Mathers in his testimony. “Leaders in business and the environmental community alike recognize that rigorous well designed standards can save fleets and families in fuel costs, can reduce dangerous pollutants and can strengthen our global competitiveness by spurring the deployment of advanced technologies.” 

The proposed clean trucks standards will build on the historic standards finalized in 2011, which apply to model year 2014-to-2018 trucks. We’re already seeing the success of that first phase of standards in the demand for more efficient trucks – model year 2014 heavy-duty trucks saw the highest sales since 2005.

The proposed standards will apply to new heavy-duty trucks for model years 2021 through 2027, and new trailers built in model years 2018 to 2027. 

EPA and DOT estimate that, over the life of the program, the proposed standards will:

    • Reduce climate pollution by 1 billion tons
    • Cut fuel use by 1.8 billion barrels of oil
    • Save truck owners $170 billion in fuel costs

The proposed standards will also save the average American household $150 a year by 2030.

However, the proposal falls short of the cost-effective goal of 40 percent fuel consumption reduction by 2025 recommended by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Union of Concerned Scientists on the basis of extensive technical and economic analyses. (See Khan, S., D.W. Cooke, and L. Tonachel, Fuel savings available in new heavy-duty trucks in 2025. Transportation Research Board paper 15-4977. Presented at the 94th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, January 11-15, 2015 in Washington, DC.) 

Mathers will testify that it is EPA’s responsibility under the nation’s clean air laws to finalize standards that achieve deeper pollution reductions. Among other improvements, Mathers recommended 15 percent efficiency improvements from the engine and a program that is fully implemented by 2024. Read more in the testimony.

Background Information on Clean Trucks

    • Today’s average semi truck burns 20,000 gallons of diesel a year – the same volume of fuel used by 50 new passenger cars. (See EIA AEO 2014 Table 68, U Michgan Eco-Driving Index, Federal Highway Administration Table VM-1, American Public Transit Association’s Public Transportation Fact Book Tables 8, 16, and 21)
    • Fuel has been the largest single cost for trucking fleets, accounting for 39 percent of the cost of ownership in 2013.
    • Manufacturers, companies, national security experts, consumer groups and others across the country have spoken out in favor of better fuel efficiency and less pollution from freight trucks and buses.

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