Sen. Whitehouse Applauds Administration’s Push on Fuel Efficiency

Washington, DC – Today President Obama announced that he is directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop and issue the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 2016.  The standards, which are the latest piece of the President’s Climate Action Plan, would help to reduce the carbon pollution that is contributing to climate change.

“These standards will be a win-win for the American people,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), co-chair of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change and the Senate Climate Action Task Force.  “They will reduce carbon pollution that drives climate change and reduce our consumption of costly fossil fuels.  With Congress locked behind a barricade of special interests, the President’s Climate Action Plan will ensure we continue to make progress on climate change.”

According to the White House, heavy-duty vehicles represented just four percent of registered vehicles on the road in the United States in 2010, but accounted for approximately 25 percent of on-road fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.  The first round of standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, finalized in September 2011, is projected to save 530 million barrels of oil and reduce GHG 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.  However, these standards will only apply to vehicles in model years 2014-2018.  The second round of standards will extend beyond 2018 and into the next decade.