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President Obama is expected to announce it today

Medium and heavy-duty vehicles are on U.S President Barack Obama's agenda for discussion today in an effort to set new fuel standards
Obama today announced the tightened fuel standards for vehicles like semis, garbage trucks, buses and three-quarter-ton pickups at a distribution center for the grocery chain Safeway in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Obama requested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) create new fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas proposals by March 2015 and final standards by March 31, 2016. 
The action follows the president's State of the Union Address last month, where he said he planned to set new fuel standards for trucks in order to cut costs at the pump and lessen our need for oil and imports. 
In 2011, the EPA and NHTSA finalized the first phase of fuel-efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, saying that they must lower reduce fuel consumption between 10 and 20 percent depending on design.

President Obama wants heavy duty vehicles to reduce their fuel consumption. [Source: Getty Images]

More specifically, big rigs and semi trucks were required to achieve a 20 percent reduction, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans were required to achieve a 15 percent reduction, and delivery trucks, buses and garbage trucks were required to achieve a 10 percent reduction. This affects 2014 to 2018 model years.
Trucks and buses built between these model years are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by approximately 270 million metric tons. 
The 2011 rules are expected to save $50 billion in fuel costs, which is equivalent to 530 billion barrels of oil. 
However, auto manufacturers will have to pay up $8.1 billion to build the fuel-efficient vehicles.
In August 2012, the Obama administration also finalized fuel efficiency standards in cars and light trucks by the year 2025. By pushing for 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency, the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards aim to save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump, cut U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons over the course of the program, and encourage the adoption of autos like electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids.

Sources: USA Today, The White House

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RE: New Engine Design
By JediJeb on 2/20/2014 4:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
strict diet of decreased weight and increased aerodynamics.

The problem here concerning the mandated mileage numbers is that as you decrease the weight of the vehicle, haulers will just increase the weight of the cargo to keep it as close to the legal maximum. While this will increase efficiency as measured by ton*mile/gallon it does little for mile/gallon numbers. You are actually using less fuel to move the same amount of cargo, but the vehicle itself is still using the same amount of fuel to travel the same distance.

RE: New Engine Design
By TheEquatorialSky on 2/20/2014 7:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
True, but...

1) Decreasing the weight of some components has an effect regardless. For example, aluminum wheels have less rotational inertia than steel wheels.

2) The average load trucks carry is less than the maximum GVWR. Reefers and (especially) flatbeds are the most likely to gross-out. Even then, just one "light load" carried (e.g. aluminum doors) means the average will be under gross.

3) Trucks often deadhead between loads.

4) Increasing ton*miles/gallon is the relevant metric for America. The fact that it will increase indirectly is a benefit of the mandate. The independent owner-operator (little guy) will probably lose out since he'll be paying for technology without reaping all the benefits... welcome to 21st century America!

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