New White House Blueprint for Cleaner, More Efficient Autos and Freight Trucks Will Reduce Oil Consumption, Pollution

May 21, 2010



Sharyn Stein, Media Director, 202-572-3396,
Steve Cochran, National Climate Campaign Director, (202) 572-3333,

(Washington, D.C. – May 21, 2010) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today praised the Administration’s new plan to reduce oil consumption by expanding auto emissions standards and adopting the nation’s first-ever greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for freight trucks.

The White House announced the initiative today. It provides a blueprint for new federal standards to reduce the oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from cars and freight trucks through cost-saving improvements in vehicle efficiency and additional pollution mitigation measures.

“We are in a race against time to address our nation’s destructive dependence on oil,” said EDF National Climate Campaign Director Steve Cochran. “The Administration’s leadership today is an important step in the race to protect our nation’s security, to prevent tragic oil spills, and to address heat-trapping gases — but as the President made clear in his remarks, durable change will require action by the Senate on strong clean energy and climate legislation.”

Last month, the federal government strengthened the fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for model year 2012-2016 passenger vehicles and light trucks, increasing fuel economy by about 5 percent annually and reducing fleet-wide greenhouse gases an estimated 21 percent by 2030. Today’s announcement is for a plan to continue fuel economy improvements and emissions reductions for those vehicles for model year 2017 and beyond, and to set national standards for medium and heavy duty trucks for model years 2014 through 2018.

The nation’s passenger vehicles and freight trucks are currently responsible for 40 percent of our nation’s oil consumption and 25 percent of our nation’s heat-trapping gases. In 2008, the U.S. consumed more than 7 billion barrels of oil — or nearly 19.5 million barrels per day. Much of that oil was used to fuel passenger vehicles and freight trucks sources. EDF has created a chart that shows fuel consumption from these sectors.

A wide variety of solutions are available to improve vehicle efficiency and reduce pollution from freight trucks. For example, hybrid electric vehicles, hydraulic hybrids and electric vehicles all have the potential to increase the fuel efficiency of trucks and reduce emissions. The first commercially available medium-duty hybrid trucks hit the road in 2005 through a partnership between FedEx and EDF. There are nearly 2,000 of these vehicles on the road today. UPS, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Purolator Courier, AT&T, and Florida Power & Light are among the more than 150 companies that have these vehicles in their fleets. Depending on duty-cycle, these vehicles can slash greenhouse gas emissions up to 50% and decrease particulate pollution (also known as soot) by 90% over traditional diesel vehicles. They are available in many models, including: Utility, Step Van, Delivery, PTO, Refuse and Step-in.