Obama announces new US fuel efficiency standards

New regulations scheduled for 2016 could cut carbon pollution in USA by 10% say Sierra Club


President Obama says heavy duty road vehicles will face tough new fuel efficiency standards from March 2016.

In a speech at the Maryland branch of the US Supermarket chain Safeway Obama said he had instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start work on a new set of measures for trucks.

“We’re gonna double the distance our cars and trucks and go on a gallon of gas from 2025,” he said, adding “These are areas where ambition has worked out well for us – don’t make small plans make big plans.”

Trucks and lorries account for around 4% of registered vehicles in the USA, but are responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.

A previous round of standards announced in 2011 meant manufacturers of medium and heavy duty trucks had to achieve a 20% efficiency saving rating, which the White House says will save $50 billion in fuel costs equal to 530 million barrels of oil.

Last week Obama unveiled a new $1 billion climate adaptation fund, the State Department released its proposals for a 2015 UN climate deal, and Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech labelling global warming a weapon of mass destruction.

Obama used his speech to repeat a call for Congress to end subsidies to oil and gas companies and create an Energy Security Trust Fund to fund research and development for advanced vehicle technologies.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune welcomed the announcement, claiming it would slash US carbon pollution by 10%.

“The president’s decisive action to ensure more efficient cars and trucks is adding up to huge climate pollution reductions for our planet and massive savings for American drivers at the pump,” he said.

“We have the technology to nearly double the fuel economy of tractor trailers, and now we need to put it to work.”

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