U.S. to propose new truck fuel efficiency rules

Up to now, the nation’s fuel economy rules only covered cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs.   But now it sounds like the Obama administration will shortly be coming out with new rules mandating increased fuel efficiency and decreased greenhouse gas emissions for the country’s medium and heavy duty trucks.

Expectations are that the plan will require a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions beginning with the 2014 model year and continuing until the 2018 model year.    The proposal will cover big rig tractor trailers, along with vocational trucks such as garbage trucks, buses, and work trucks such as the heavy duty versions of the Dodge Ram and Ford F-Series.   Currently, tractor-trailers get only about 6 to 7 miles per gallon and work trucks get around 10-11 mpg – their overall fuel consumption uses about 20% of all the transportation fuel in the U.S.   A relatively small increase in gas mileage in this area would do much to reduce the country’s oil needs, and most studies show that the improvements in mpg could be attained by using more efficient engines, improved aerodynamics for reduced drag, and better tires.

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