Obama unveils truck fuel standards

President Obama announced new fuel-economy standards for heavy-duty trucks at Virginia-based Interstate Moving Services Aug. 9.

The standards will affect work trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles. Diesel use would be cut by 4 gallons per 100 miles traveled, yielding a total fuel savings of $73,000 over a truck’s life, according to calculations used in the first-ever truck fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regulation.

EPA’s GHG emission standards will begin with the 2014 model year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s fuel consumption standards will be voluntary in model years 2014 and 2015, but mandatory for most categories beginning in the 2016 model year.

Last fall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a 20 percent reduction in emissions and improvement in fuel economy for heavy-duty trucks. The proposal called for standards to begin in the 2014 model year.

Interstate Worldwide Relocation Services is headquartered just outside the Washington, D.C. beltway in Springfield.

One of its five companies is IMS, which provides moving and storage for individuals, as well as for companies and government agencies.

On Aug. 11, Obama visited Johnson Controls in Holland, Mich. During his tour of the advanced battery facility, he discussed how innovative technologies help automakers achieve fuel-economy standards.

The president announced July 29 that an agreement was reached with 13 major automakers to pursue the next phase in fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025.

Joining the announcement were Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo, along the United Auto Workers and California officials.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney had Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood address reporters immediately before Carney’s Aug. 3 White House briefing. Carney introduced Transportation LaHood with, “Back by popular demand, because we’re grooming him to be my successor.”

LaHood, who previously served as a Republican congressional representative for Illinois, drew laughs with his response. “I think all of you in this room know that the last thing the administration wants is a Republican to be their spokesman, so I’m not auditioning for Jay’s job,” he said.

LaHood scolded Congress after the Federal Aviation Administration revenue-raising authority expired July 22 because Congress could not agree on an extension. One reporter jokingly asked Carney why LaHood was not employed in the debt negotiations.

“He does have a full-time job,” Carney replied.

Congress reached an agreement Aug. 4 to extend the FAA’s funding authority through Sept. 16.