Policy: Environment & Energy

Obama to take executive action on fuel efficiency

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Politics,White House,Transportation,Barack Obama,Climate Change,EPA,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Energy and Environment,Fuel Efficiency

President Obama will again bypass Congress and take executive actions to promote his agenda on Tuesday - this time by ordering the federal government to develop the next round of greenhouse gas standards for medium- and heavy-weight trucks by March 2016.

Back in Washington from a three-day trip to California, Obama will announce the new executive orders, which the White House said are aimed at curbing climate change, at a Safeway distribution center in Upper Marlboro, Md.

In his remarks, Obama plans to call on Congress to take steps to expand fuel choices for American drivers - efforts he will say help “bolster American energy security, cut carbon pollution, save money and support U.S. manufacturing innovation,” the White House said.

Safeway, a leader in improving trucking efficiency, participates in the Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay public-private partnership and has improved the efficiency of its trucking fleet by investing in cleaner, more efficient trucks and trailers.

During the president's State of the Union address, he highlighted the role played by American autoworkers in helping make the U.S. a magnet for middle-class jobs and business by creating some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world.

He is following through on his pledge to build on that success by setting new standards for trucks, so we can “drive down oil imports and what we pay at the pump.”

The EPA and the Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will have until March 2016 to develop the new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards.

Trucks and heavy-duty vehicles represent a major opportunity to cut transportation and carbon pollution, the White House said. In 2010, heavy-duty vehicles represented just 4 percent of registered vehicles on the road in the United States, but they account for approximately 25 percent of on-road fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector today.

They currently constitute the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector, with passenger cars and light trucks the largest source.

The first round of fuel-efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, finalized in September 2011, is projected to save 530 million barrels of oil and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 270 million metric tons, saving vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel costs over the lifetimes of the vehicles covered, the White House said.

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