Court Upholds Landmark Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks and Buses

April 24, 2015
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396,

(Washington, D.C. – April 24, 2015) Today, a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. unanimously dismissed legal challenges to America’s first-ever national greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for large trucks and buses. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) was a party to this case.  

“These clean air measures are driving technological innovations that are cleaning our air, saving Americans money through fuel cost savings, and helping American truck manufacturers to lead the race to clean technologies in the global marketplace,” said Peter Zalzal, EDF attorney. “They show that when our nation stands together, we can forge big gains in strengthening our economy and protecting our environment.” 

The standards for newly manufactured heavy-duty trucks and buses were finalized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2011. They apply to heavy-duty vehicles manufactured between 2014 and 2018. That category includes commercial trucks, buses and school buses, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational trucks like delivery and garbage trucks. (The standards will not apply to passenger cars and light trucks, which already have separate fuel efficiency standards).

The standards are based on common sense, highly cost-effective technologies that will make our nation’s fleet of large trucks and buses more efficient — reducing harmful climate-destabilizing pollution, limiting our dependence on foreign oil, and saving money for both truckers (in the form of lower fuel costs) and consumers (in the form of lower shipping costs). 

EPA estimates that, over the lifetime of vehicles sold between 2014 and 2018, the standards will:

    • Reduce climate pollution by more than 270 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent
    • Reduce oil consumption by more than 530 million barrels
    • Result in net savings of up to $73,000 in avoided fuel costs over the lifetime of a new long-haul truck.

The nation’s truck and engine manufacturers — the business that are building the technologies that will help to meet these standards —  strongly supported the standards, along with a number of states, public health, and environmental organizations including EDF.

Building from the standards affirmed by the D.C. Circuit today, President Obama announced that EPA and NHTSA will issue second-generation greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for large trucks. The administration’s draft second-generation standards are expected to be proposed soon.   

Many of the same companies that stood with the President in announcing a blueprint to develop the second phase standards also collaborated on the first generation clean trucks standards. Among those supporting the President’s announcement of second phase standards are the nation’s major manufacturers and fleets such as Conway, Cummins, Eaton, Wabash National, Waste Management and the American Trucking Association.

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