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Separate Oil Saving Standards for Light and Heavy Vehicles in the U.S.

published: 2011-08-19 12:09

Light Weight Vehicles

In late July, 2011, the Obama Administration announced an agreement with thirteen major automakers including Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, GM, Chrysler, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda and Volvo, which altogether represent more than 90% of all vehicles sold domestically, to pursue the next phase in the Administration’s national vehicle program. The announcement made on July 23rd stated that the program targets to increase fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025.

The previously announced standards state the two stage fuel efficiency improvement schedule will require 35.5 MPG for cars and light trucks built from 2012 to 2016 at the first stage and a more aggressive 54.5 MPG standard by model year 2015.

It is expected that in order to achieve the new standards, automakers will implement more advanced technologies as an important element to upgrade vehicle fleet’s performance in terms of fuel efficiency and reduction in green house gas emissions. Government agencies U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National High Way Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are considering a number of incentive programs to encourage early adoption and introduction into the marketplace of advanced technologies that represent “game changing” performance improvements.

Heavy Vehicles

A few weeks later in early August, the U.S. President Barack Obama said that the Administration, interestingly, kept receiving letters from automakers, dealers and drivers asking for setting efficiency improvements for trucks and buses as well when working to standardize the fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks. After unveiling new fuel economy labels, White House further made an announcement of the first ever oil savings standards for heavy duty trucks and buses. It is estimated to save 50 billion dollars in nation wide oil expense and consumers will save $1.7 trillion at gas stations, a calculated $8000 saving per vehicle by 2025.

The White House pointed out that various commercial vehicles including trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018 will start to adopt new fuel saving technologies that are expected to reduce as many as 530 million barrels of oil and 270 tons of green house gases. Notably, a truck operator can pay for the technology upgrades and are expected to realize net savings of $73,000 through reduced fuel costs over the truck's useful life.

For the first time in the U.S. history, a common goal is achieved for improving fuel efficiency of the trucks and buses that transport goods and people. By the 2018 model year, the program is expected to achieve significant savings relative to current levels, across vehicle types including combination tractors, heavy duty pick-up trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles.

For some combination tractors, the required reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions will achieve from 9–23% by model year 2018, saving estimated 4 gallons of fuel for every 100 miles.

For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, different standards are imposed for gasoline and diesel powered trucks. The standards require an average per-vehicle improvement in fuel consumption of 15% for diesel vehicles and 10% for gasoline vehicles. Under the standard, a typical vehicle that falls under the category of gasoline or diesel powered heavy-duty pickup truck or van could save one gallon of fuel for every 100 miles.

Vocational vehicles consist of a wide variety of truck and bus types including transit buses, delivery trucks, cement and garbage trucks and many more will be required to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10 percent by model year 2018. These trucks could save an average of one gallon of fuel for every 100 miles traveled.

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