Trucking expert witnesses may opine on emission requirements, federal motor carrier safety regulations, and related subjects. TruckstopUSA.com reports that the federal government proposed the first regulations limiting fuel consumption of work trucks – from big-rig trucks to concrete mixers, buses, even heavy-duty pickups – saying the rules finally address the thirstiest and most-polluting vehicles on the road.
Though the emphasis is on semi-tractor rigs and other big trucks, the regulations would apply to vehicles as small as those with an 8,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (the safe weight of the truck and cargo combined) – a Ford F-250 pickup or equivalent.
The heavy-truck rules would join fuel-economy rules for passenger vehicles that require automakers to average 35.5 miles per gallon in 2016. A recent proposal would push that to as much as 62 mpg in 2025.
The government forecast the truck rules would cost the industry $7.7 billion, but save $35 billion in fuel.The regulations don’t address the trailers that semis pull – requiring them to be more aerodynamic, for example – though they dramatically effect fuel use. Critics say the standards might not be high enough and should “do more to draw advanced technologies into the market” by giving added credit for hybrid drivetrains or advanced transmissions, says Therese Langer, head of transportation issues at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, an advocacy group.
The rules are a joint product of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. EPA specifies fuel-use limits in grams of carbon dioxide emitted per ton-mile. NHTSA specifies gallons of fuel used per 1,000 ton-miles. They say their approaches complement each other.