United States President Barack Obama has a few more things to do before he leaves office in 2016, one of which is continuing fuel economy reforms to reduce emissions and petroleum imports.
Container ships and cargo trains may be the first two steps in the logistics of the United States, but the heavy duty truck fleet remains the backbone of every transported item, from electronics to cars, fruits to fruit treas, and everything in between. Given there are hundreds of thousands of heavy-duty trucks on the road, it’s fairly obvious they weigh heavily on the petroleum consumption and emissions generation in this country. Improving fuel economy in this sector will have a huge impact.
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that the transportation sector accounts for 28% of emissions in the United States. Greenhouse gas emissions, pretty much directly related to fuel consumption, has been drastically improved by the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations covering the light vehicle fleet. Yesterday, February 18, 2014, US President Obama Announced plans to get the EPA involved in improving fuel economy and emissions of the heavy-duty truck fleet…
“Improving gas mileage for these trucks is going to drive down our oil imports even further,” Obama said, “That reduces carbon pollution even more, cuts down on businesses’ fuel costs, which should pay off in lower prices for consumers. So it’s not just a win-win, it’s a win-win-win. We got three wins.” The EPA will work with the DOT (Department of Transportation) to draft new heavy-duty truck fuel economy and emissions regulations by March 2015, to be implemented before Obama leaves office.
Fortunately, the heavy-duty truck industry has plenty of technology choices to choose from, to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Hybrid electric vehicle technology is strong in the light vehicle sector and natural gas engines could be adapted for heavy-duty applications. Even simple things, such as aerodynamic tweaks, can significantly improve tractor-trailer fuel economy and emissions.