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Californian’s now facing a pair of wildfires; Also on the Tuesday rundown: Higher education in New Jersey: a racial split; plus food resources still available despite the “public charge” proposal.

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Keep On Trucking -- With Less Pollution on NY Roads

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

ALBANY, N.Y. - Big trucks making their way across New York 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 also less money (is) 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 York and New England.

"The Southern New England states which are more densely populated and have the links to the Mid-Atlantic region and New York do see some of the heaviest traffic, particularly the I-95 corridor."

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 - NY