US President Barack Obama has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and the Traffic Department to draft new fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks by March 2015, to be completed a year later so they are in place before Obama leaves office. Similar standards for cars and light trucks have previously been introduced.
Under the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate any substance designated as a pollutant that harms or endangers human health. Since 2009, carbon dioxide exhausted from tailpipes and smokestacks has been considered meet this definition. This means that the US president does not need the approval of Congress to introduce these new standards.
Obama describes his initiative as a “win-win-win”, since new standards would reduce oil imports, reduce carbon pollution and cut down on businesses’ fuel costs.
The European Commission is currently working on a CO2 strategy for heavy vehicles, which could lead to similar standards in Europe.
Source: New York Times, 18 February 2014