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U.S. parks fuel saving targets on heavy trucks

Published by Steve Coleman on August 11, 2011

Now that the smoke has cleared over U.S. plans to increase fuel efficiency in cars and light-duty trucks, heavy vehicles are being added to the mix.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced Aug. 10 that commercial vehicle owners can expect to save a combined $50 billion US in fuel costs over the life of the program after paying for vehicle upgrades.

For the first time ever, work trucks and buses as well as medium and heavy-duty vehicles will have to meet new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards by 2014.

"While we were working to improve the efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks, something interesting happened," Obama said.  "We started getting letters asking that we do the same for medium and heavy-duty trucks.

"They were from the people who build, buy, and drive these trucks.  And today, I'm proud to have the support of these companies as we announce the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas pollution from medium-and heavy-duty trucks."

Trucks and buses built between 2014 and 2018 will be expected to reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gases by an estimated 270 million metric tons.

The plan calls for vehicle owners to make use of off-the-shelf technology to meet the new emissions standards. Predictions say a trucker behind the wheel of a semi could pay for the upgrades in the first year with their fuel savings and save about $73,000 over a vehicle's useful life.

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