WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The Environmental Protection Agency announced fuel efficiency standards for U.S. commercial trucks for the first time, similar to rules for lighter vehicles.
The rules cover fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and are shaped to cover a variety of larger vehicles, such as vans, buses, tractor trailers, fire trucks and cement mixers, The New York Times reported Monday.
Various classes of vehicles under the proposal have different standards. Tractor trailers and buses, if the rules meet final approval, would have to reduce gas consumption by 20 percent by 2018. Trucks under the category of "work trucks," like cement trucks that drive far fewer miles per year, would have to reduce gas consumption by 10 percent by 2018.
The government said the reduced fuel consumption by itself would pay for the technology required to improve truck power trains and exhaust systems. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the standards would also create new jobs in truck engineering and research and development.
"Overall, this program will save $41 billion and much of it will stay home in the U.S. economy rather than paying for imported oil," she said at a news briefing.
The rules, proposed by the EPA and the Department of Transportation, are subject to a public review period before they can be officially adapted.
The American Trucking Association endorsed the idea, saying it prefers the approach to adding a new tax on fuel for truck drivers.
A study done by the National Academy of Sciences concluded this year that technology already exists -- improved tires, aerodynamics and power trains -- that would improve fuel efficiency of tractor trailers by as much as a half.