UPDATE 2-U.S. set first fuel standards for big trucks

* New standards will cover commercial vehicles

* Rules will likely set truck standards 2014-2018

* Regulation would not be final until July 2011
(Adds comment from U.S. Transportation Secretary)

By John Crawley and Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (BestGrowthStock) – The Obama administration on
Monday proposed the first ever fuel efficiency and emissions
standards for big tractor trailers and other commercial
trucks.

The joint Transportation Department and Environmental
Protection Agency initiative covers a range of vehicles from
delivery vans to long-haul rigs, and is expected to cut nearly
250 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over the
lifespans of vehicles produced within the program’s first five
years.

The regulation, which would not be final until mid-2011,
covers new trucks for model years 2014 to 2018.

The standards, which are divided among three categories of
vehicles, will save 500 million barrels of oil for vehicles
manufactured during these model years.

“It will reduce our reliance on oil. Strengthen our energy
security and mitigate climate change,” said Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood.

“These new standards are another step in our work to
develop a new generation of clean, fuel-efficient American
vehicles that will improve our environment and strengthen our
economy,” added EPA head Lisa Jackson.

Firms that would be affected by the changes include YRC
Worldwide (YRCW.O: )(YRCWD.O: ), UPS Inc (UPS.N: ), FedEx Corp
(FDX.N: ), Ryder System (R.N: ), Landstar System (LSTR.O: ) and J.B.
Hunt Transport Services (JBHT.O: ).

Under the proposal, tractor trailer rigs will have to
achieve up to a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions and
fuel consumption by the 2018 model year.

Heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, such as the Ford F-250
Super Duty and the Dodge Ram, will have separate gasoline and
diesel standards beginning in the 2014 model year, with a
target of an up to 10 percent reduction for gasoline vehicles
and 15 percent cut for diesel vehicles by the 2018 model year.

Vocational vehicles, such as concrete mixers, firetrucks,
garbage trucks and buses, would need to reach up to a 10
percent reduction in fuel use and carbon emissions during the
same period.

Trucking companies say they support “technologically
feasible” and predictable efficiency standards. Industry
prefers that approach to any action that would raise prices in
an effort to discourage diesel use and boost alternative fuels,
the American Trucking Associations trade group said.

EPA and the Transportation Department estimated that
operators of semi-trucks could make up the cost of required
technology upgrades in less than a year in fuel savings, and
save as much as $74,000 over a truck’s lifetime of use.

Trucking is projected to haul about 14 billion tons of
freight by 2018, compared with nearly 11 billion tons in 2006,
industry figures show. Commercial trucks represent about 11
percent of all registered vehicles in the United States.

The public will be able to comment on the agencies’
proposals for 60 days.

The Natural Resources Defense Council applauded the
government’s proposal as a step in the right direction, but
said the standards should be tougher.

“Heavy trucks and buses are the energy hogs of America’s
roadways — but they don’t have to be,” said Luke Tonachel of
the NRDC. “Today’s proposal should be strengthened further to
maximize the environmental, security and economic benefits.”

The Obama administration had ordered the EPA in late May to
develop standards to lower emissions from heavy-duty vehicles,
as the White House attempts to combat global warming.

Estimates show that large tractor trailers, which emit
about a fifth of the greenhouse gases from transportation, can
cut emissions by up to 20 percent using existing technologies.

The EPA and the Transportation Department finalized rules
in April to reduce emissions from cars and light trucks.

Those rules will require a 30 percent decrease in carbon
emissions and a 42 percent increase in auto fuel efficiency to
35.5 miles per gallon (6.85 liters per 100 km) by 2016.
(Reporting by John Crawley and Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Dale
Hudson, Walter Bagley and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

UPDATE 2-U.S. set first fuel standards for big trucks