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Keep On Trucking -- With Less Pollution on NH Roads

PHOTO: Trucks on New Hampshire roadways will face stricter fuel-efficiency standards under a new directive aimed at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Photo credit: morguefile.com.
PHOTO: Trucks on New Hampshire roadways will face stricter fuel-efficiency standards under a new directive aimed at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Photo credit: morguefile.com.
February 24, 2014

NASHUA, N.H. - Big trucks making their way across New Hampshire will be held to tighter fuel standards in the coming years. President Obama has directed federal agencies to develop higher fuel-efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by March of 2016, and Peter Shattuck of Environment Northeast praises the environmental rationale for these standards.

"The less energy you use, the fewer carbon emissions are generated; the more savings are produced for businesses; but (there's) also less money flowing out of the region for fossil fuels," as he put it.

The standards will affect all vehicles weighing more than 8500 pounds, from large pick-up trucks to 18-wheelers. According to the White House, the new rules would build on standards passed in 2011 that already are projected to save vehicle owners and operators $50 billion in fuel costs in the lifetimes of models built from 2014 to 2018.

Just a few years ago, it was estimated that heavy-duty vehicles made up only 4 percent of the transportation sector, and yet accounted for about one-fourth of the road-fuel use and greenhouse-gas emissions from this sector. And Shattuck predicted the new standards will have an effect on air quality in New Hampshire.

"Clearly, the first step, the most important step in transforming our energy system as a whole and improving the performance of trucks in particular, is to enhance their energy efficiency."

ENE has just released a report calling for reforms in four areas that the group said will produce a cleaner, lower-cost energy system in the region, including making broader use of electric vehicles.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NH