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Carbon Emission Rules Extended to Trucking Industry

Semitrucks traveling across Tennessee will soon have to include improved carbon emissions technology. (DodgertonSkillhause/
Semitrucks traveling across Tennessee will soon have to include improved carbon emissions technology. (DodgertonSkillhause/
August 18, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee drivers have to share the road with thousands of heavy-duty trucks that transport thousands of pounds of goods across the state every day.

But because everyone shares the air, the Obama administration announced this week that new carbon emissions standards will require up to a 25 percent reduction over the next 10 years.

Paul Billings, senior vice president for advocacy for the American Lung Association, says it will improve the health of people and the economy.

"These rules will provide tremendous climate and health benefits to the American people, and the great thing about them is they actually save people money, too, because the vehicles will be more efficient to operate because they'll burn less fuel and operate more efficiently," he states.

There are more than 1,000 miles of Interstate highways in Tennessee and nine primary Interstates, making the state a heavily traveled region for large-truck traffic.

Some in the trucking industry are concerned about the expense required as companies update their fleets.

With semitrucks often lasting at least 10 years on the road, and driving a million miles over their lifetime, Billings says the new emissions standards will have a long-term impact on the country's air quality.

"The thing about trucks is they last a long time, and so it takes a long time for new technology to come in and replace the older trucks as they retire,” he points out. “But this is a forward-looking rule, so we continue to see benefits as these cleaner, more efficient vehicles replace the older, less efficient vehicles. "

The administration estimates the new rules will cut 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions by 2027 and save the trucking industry $170 billion in fuel costs, reducing petroleum use by 2 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the new rules.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN