Obama: Fuel Standards Will Help Solve America’s Energy Problems
“Five years ago, we set out to break our dependence on foreign oil,” President Barack Obama said on Tuesday, speaking at a Safeway distribution center in Maryland. “And today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades … one of the reasons why is because we dedicated ourselves to manufacturing new cars and new trucks that go farther on a gallon of gas — and that saves families money, it cuts down harmful pollution, and it creates new advances in American technology.”
Obama first set fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses in 2014, mandating vehicles built in 2014 through 2018. The rules required that big-rig trucks achieve up to 20 percent increased fuel efficiency, that heavy-duty pickups and vans achieve approximately 15 percent increased efficiency, and that vocational vehicles like delivery trucks, buses, and garbage trucks achieve approximately 10 percent increased efficiency. With their powers combined, these efficiencies are expected to reduce fuel spending by $50 billion, oil consumption by 530 million barrels, and greenhouse gas pollution by 270 million metric tons over the life of the program.
On Tuesday, Obama made good on a promise he made during the State of the Union address and announced that he is directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DoT) to develop the next stage of fuel-efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, adding to the standards set in 2011. Obama directed the EPA and the DoT to develop and issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by March 2015 and to implement the next phase of the program by March 2016. The next phase will “reach well into the next decade,” he said.