President to push for stricter heavy duty truck fuel regs

The White House wants a cleaner fleet of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

President Barack Obama is expected to press the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to set tougher fuel economy targets for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in a speech scheduled for later on Tuesday.

The EPA and NHTSA set the nation's first economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks in 2011. Those rules, which cover the 2014-2018 model years, require large vehicles like buses and garbage trucks to reduce fuel consumption by between 10 and 20 percent. President Obama is urging the agencies to finalize new rules by March 2016 that would put new targets in places for the 2019 model year and beyond.

The President said the stricter rules will help reduce the costs of consumer goods shipped by trucks.

"The president's initiative is an important step driving America toward a cleaner energy future. Strong heavy truck efficiency standards will not only cut carbon pollution that fuels climate change, but also save consumers money every time they go to a store and save truckers money at the pump,” Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, told The Detroit News.

It's expected that the 2011 truck rules will save the industry about $50 billion in fuel costs and only $8.1 billion in investment costs.

Heavy-duty vehicles account for 20 percent of emissions but represent just 4 percent of the nation's vehicle fleet.

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