Administration Releases New Fuel-Efficiency Rules For Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Date: August 17, 2016 Last Edit: August 18, 2016

EPA, DOT To Make Heavy-Duty Vehicles 25% More Fuel Efficient By 2027, But Vehicle Costs To Rise

The EPA and Transportation Department have issued new fuel efficiency rules designed to make vehicles 25% more fuel efficient in 2027 compared to 2018. PBS’ NewsHour reported that the regulations will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over one billion tons, and save over $170 billion in fuel costs. The AP reports, “The Obama administration says it’s continuing to address global warming by adopting previously announced standards” to make those vehicles more fuel-efficient. The EPA and DOT say the standards will also “conserve tens of billions of gallons of oil.” Politico says the new standards “represent a major portion of Obama’s efforts to combat climate change. According to EPA, the combined efficiencies from the Obama vehicle rules would eliminate carbon dioxide equal the amount emitted by cars traveling 17.7 trillion miles, or running 2,145 coal plants for one year.” The Washington Post writes that the Obama Administration “previously has undertaken efforts to curb pollution from cars and light trucks, aircraft, power plants and air conditioning and refrigeration units,” and “unlike some past regulations, the new fuel-efficiency rules for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles have largely been embraced by the trucking industry as a way to cut fuel costs and bolster bottom lines.” However, some industry “skepticism remains.” American Truck Dealers said that while it has “yet to fully analyze the final rules, ‘dealers are concerned with the possibility that compliance will prove too complex or expensive for the market (dealer customers) to accept without disruption.’”

What Happens Next

The emissions rules are designed to be phased in, with Detroit News reporting that the first phase “of the emission rules for trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018 will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by approximately 270 million metric tons.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Though there may be reductions in emissions due to the latest Obama Administration regulations, the question is, at what cost? Trucks reports that regulators “estimate that standards will add at least $6,400 to the cost of a semi-truck starting in the 2021 model year and as much $12,440 by the 2027 model year. The added expense of a work truck will start at about $1,110 and rise to as much as $2,700.” Small businesses that rely on heavy-duty vehicles will bear the brunt of these added costs, and may have to pass such costs on to consumers.

Additional Reading

Bloomberg BNA, the New York Times, and the Detroit Free Press also cover the new heavy-duty vehicle emissions regulations.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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