Obama Announces Higher Fuel Efficiency, Emissions Standards

President Barack Obama used a Safeway Inc. distribution center in Maryland last week to call for new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks, asking his staff to develop a proposed rule further tightening greenhouse-gas emissions by heavy- and medium-duty trucks by March 2015. The president is hopeful the process could be completed in a year after the initial March 2015 benchmark.

The president also suggested offering tax credits to manufacturers of clean vehicles and to fuel-stop operators selling clean fuels. While the fuel standards can be done within the executive branch, changing the tax code would require congressional action.

The President chose the grocery chain's DC as a backdrop for the announcement because of Safeway's long-time participation in the EPA SmartWay Transport Program, both as a carrier and shipping partner moving goods through its expansive supply chain in the cleanest and most efficient way possible. In 2013, 99.9 percent of the truckloads that moved through Safeway's distribution centers were shipped by SmartWay Transport carriers who have implemented technologies to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Reaction from the trucking industry has been positive, according to an article running in the American Trucking Associations (ATA) supported publication Transport Topics.

“We stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the president and his administration in 2011 when the historic first fuel efficiency standards were set for heavy-duty vehicles,” ATA President Bill Graves said. “As we begin this new round of standards, ATA hopes the administration will set forth a path that is both based on the best science and research available and economically achievable.”

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