Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks are much less fuel efficient than standard automobiles. Tractor-trailers are driven up to 150,000 miles a year and typically get about 6 to 7 mpg, while work trucks get 10 to 11 mpg. And these trucks consume about 20 percent of the transportation fuel in the U.S.
With tougher fuel economy standards, the White House hopes to reduce the nation's dependence on oil, diminish greenhouse gas emissions, and increase fuel economy. This program is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 250 million metric tons and is projected to save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of vehicles from model years 2014 to 2018. The new rules will also save owners and operators of these vehicles money on fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that semi-truck operators will save as much as $74,000 over their truck's useful life.
This announcement comes as a part of a series of incremental steps by the Obama administration to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions. The White House has discussed the future of the nation's fleet, developing plans for vehicle models that could push fuel efficiency standards to 47 to 62 mpg by 2025.
Although most politicians support the steps the government is taking in hopes of reducing emissions and oil dependency, there are those who feel progress is coming too slowly. Carl Levin, a U.S. Senator from Michigan, feels the need to reduce cars' and trucks' global emissions is too urgent for only these incremental improvements. He has suggested that the White House impose a mandate requiring all passenger vehicles to be hybrids or electrics by the year 2025.