Obama takes next step in fuel efficiency drive
February 18th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
6 months ago

Obama takes next step in fuel efficiency drive

Updated 2:10 p.m. ET, 2/18/2014

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama took the next step on Tuesday in his administration's effort to cut emissions and reduce oil use through better fuel economy on the nation's highways.

Speaking at a Safeway distribution center in Maryland, Obama instructed environmental and transportation agencies to get to work on the next round of gas mileage requirements for big trucks.

"Five years ago, we set out to break our dependence on foreign oil," Obama said. "Today, America is closer to energy independence and we have been in decades.

"For the first time in nearly 20 years, America produces more oil here at home than we buy from other countries. Our levels of dangerous carbon pollution, that contributes to climate change, have actually gone down even as our production has gone up," he said.

Obama's plan builds on a 2011 regulation that set the first-ever fuel standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014-18. It aims to save some 530 million barrels of oil and cut emissions by roughly 270 million metric tons.

Now, the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency - as planned - must develop the next phase of targets for those vehicles for post-2018 model years.

Obama wants them in place by March 2015.

"What we were clear about what was, if you set a rule, a clear goal, we would give our companies the certainty that they needed to innovate and out-build the rest of the world," he said. "They could figure out if they had a goal that they were trying to reach, and thanks to their ingenuity and our work, we're going to meet that goal."

The effort does not require congressional approval.

Obama has facilitated aggressive increases in auto and truck fuel efficiency since taking office. Industry in most cases has responded with cleaner-burning engines, lighter and more aerodynamic designs and models that appeal to consumers hungry for fuel savings.

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, praised the latest announcement.

"Strong heavy truck efficiency standards will not only cut carbon pollution that fuels climate change, but also save consumers money every time they go to a store and save truckers money at the pump," Beinecke said.

Trucking industry leaders supported the latest proposal as well.

Congressional Republicans called the announcement old news, and urged Obama to join them in working on legislation that would create jobs.

"Surely in the past 20 days, the President could have found time to pick up his pen and respond to Congress," said Rory Cooper, communications director for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. "It's abundantly clear that President Obama is not interested in working with Congress to solve the problems facing working middle class families."

In his State of the Union address, Obama promised that 2014 would be a "Year of Action" and he would take steps through executive action in various policy areas that do not need congressional backing.

In Maryland, he touted actions he's taken since that speech in January, including raising the minimum wage for federal contractors, ordering a review of job training programs and creating a new way for low-wage workers to save for retirement.

Heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks, buses and vans, rank behind cars in the production of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, according to the Transportation Department.

Obama chose to make the latest announcement at Safeway because the company "has been a leader in improving trucking efficiency," a White House official said, adding that it has invested in "cleaner" technologies, improved aerodynamics, more efficient tires and larger capacity trailers.

soundoff (343 Responses)
  1. jinx9to88

    You haters out there crying about Obama using Executive Order need to do some research and you will find he has used the Executive order far less then any other president. Fact!! Yah I know Republican and facts should never be used in the same sentence.

    February 18, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  2. Tommy G

    Anything, ANYTHING..... to distract from his 5 year FAILURE to turn the economy around and get people back to work.
    Anything, ANYTHING..... to distract from his train wreck called Obamacare that is wrecking our healthcare system.

    Obama and the Democrats have done everything in their power to cause instability in our economy. First it was his endless attacks on businesses, then Obamacare that through one of the major expenses of companies into chaos and uncertainty, and now these energy "initiatives" that will do nothing but drive UP the cost of energy.

    It has become abundantly clear, Obama and the Democrats simply don't care about the middle class, employment or a vibrant economy. The ONLY thing that matters is their far left agenda. Costs and consequences to the American people be dammed. Like Obamacare, they will be jammed down our collective throats.

    2014 is your chance to stop this insanity America. Time is running out. Don't screw it up.

    February 18, 2014 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  3. salty dog

    Yup, double digit billion dollar profits every three months, they clearly can't afford to make safety a concern . Big oil will fight evety step of the way, that's where their money is being spent, to crush every conceivable threat to that profit . They even lobbied successfully to limit their financial liabilities, they learned one thing from the deep well disaster, not to be held responsible next time.

    February 18, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. John N Florida

    When they announced the new mileage standards for cars, lost totally in the shuffle and noise from the right, was the fact that those new rules were developed in CONCERT with the manufacturers.
    I have little doubt that these rules will follow the same strategy; meetings to designate targets with the short term easily achievable and the long term an obtainable 'reach' that will require investments in R & D by the makers to achieve.

    February 18, 2014 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  5. jinx9to88

    @ Jme
    I wonder how many gallons of fuel he and the family use taking all those vacations on Air Force 1?
    -----

    Far less than Bush used. Google "past president vacation days" Bush was on vacations over 30% of his time while in office. people should do a little research before making statements.

    February 18, 2014 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    Its wonderful watching these hysterical comments coming out of people who really don't have the knowlege of the industry or topic , yet feel everything this president does is another sign of the Apocolypse. Using lighter, stronger materials, means better mileage and greater efficiency for the industry: 2 things that any business should be trying to do. If we are going to haul everything in trucks, why not make them as fuel-efficient as possible? The short-sightedness, stupidity and lack of vision from the Right is on ull display here.

    February 18, 2014 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  7. salty dog

    The Koch brothers are spending big on the keystone, they have already built the new ports for the supertankers. Those two men will make tens if not hundred billion dollars on this thing, their liability is capped at two billion, they simply can't go wrong. They are taking advantage of our corrupt gop, and spending big, soon they will even pay both sides enough to get their votes.

    February 18, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  8. Don

    Cars and trucks are getting smaller and smaller and smaller AND THEN the president will say that the fuel economy has gotten so much better when actually the cars are smaller and smaller and smaller......... There is a difference in improving something and manipulating data, just like passing costs to the person lowers healthcare costs BUT it is because people aren't getting things checked on because it's out of pocket BUT of course we will tout the lower healthcare costs....... again manipulating data for political gain

    February 18, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  9. Matt

    You want to know how to get cars with better gas mileage and create jobs? Institutionalize Cash for Clunkers. Take the subsidies that go to big oil and give it as tax credits for people who purchase new cars that get 20% better mileage than what their traded in car gets.

    February 18, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    The Real Tom Paine

    Its wonderful watching these hysterical comments coming out of people who really don't have the knowlege of the industry or topic , yet feel everything this president does is another sign of the Apocolypse.
    -----------------------
    Ain't that the truth. The President proposes environmental standards for future trucks, and suddenly every conservative has to replace their truck fleets with the newer models. My advice to them is to hurry up and get it done.

    February 18, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  11. Don

    @jinx9to88

    @ Jme
    I wonder how many gallons of fuel he and the family use taking all those vacations on Air Force 1?
    -–

    Far less than Bush used. Google "past president vacation days" Bush was on vacations over 30% of his time while in office. people should do a little research before making statements.

    ---–
    So comparing one evil to another makes the first good??? Come on buddy, wake up!

    February 18, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  12. GOP Sucks

    Wing nuts whine that the government is interfering with the "free market," because the government destroyed America by raising passenger car efficiency above 8 milles per gallon

    February 18, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  13. Lizzie

    salty dog, maybe you should buy stocks in the Kock brothers companies. Apparently you would be happy if the Koch Brothers would shut down their operations, you get allotted a bicycle from the government free of charge and if neccecary a warm blanket in the winter.

    February 18, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  14. Searcher01

    God forbid we actually get some EFFICIENCY out of our vehicles. Does the TEA-GOP want us to go back to the 1950's fuel consumption standards, where some cars got 8 miles to the gallon?

    February 18, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    -John N Florida

    When they announced the new mileage standards for cars, lost totally in the shuffle and noise from the right, was the fact that those new rules were developed in CONCERT with the manufacturers.
    I have little doubt that these rules will follow the same strategy; meetings to designate targets with the short term easily achievable and the long term an obtainable 'reach' that will require investments in R & D by the makers to achieve.
    ******************
    Don't bother trying to point that out. The hysterical strain of Oppositional Defiance Disorder that has infected the GOP will not permit reality to intrude. I guess bacteria really does multiply in a warm, sweaty environment, and the Right is working mightily to maintain those optimal conditions.

    February 18, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  16. Bill

    Just how fuel efficient do you think an 80k pound vehicle can be?

    February 18, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  17. theotherbob56

    The delusions of those who are ranting aginst the POTUS are truly astounding. Don't let any facts confuse ya, guys!

    February 18, 2014 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Lizzie

    salty dog, maybe you should buy stocks in the Kock brothers companies.
    ------------------
    Koch industries is a privately held company, which means there are no stocks for sale. Despite being a multi-billion dollar company, the company has just a few owners, which that it technically qualifies as a "small business" that we hear Republicans talk so much about.

    February 18, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  19. snowdogg

    Better fuel economy for medium and large trucks is a win/win.

    February 18, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  20. theotherbob56

    The delusions of those posting here about how terrible Obama is are truly astounding, not to mention unfettered by facts. So the POTUS can impose rules on China and India, eh? The ACA is killing jobs, huh? He's acting like a dictator? Not so much, but your tantrus are sure getting old and hackneyed.

    February 18, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Obama is expected to renew a long-ignored call for Congress to end what he calls “subsidies” for oil and gas companies, and use that money to create a new Energy Security Trust Fund to help finance research and development of new vehicle technologies
    -------------------------------------------------
    Congress has no interest in assisting our wonderful, forward focus, long-run thinking President into bringing us kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
    Nuh-uh.
    They want to continue doing business as usual at the detriment of our place in the global commnunity and even if ALL of our children get left behind.
    Short-sighted, non-visionary fools that they are.

    February 18, 2014 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  22. The Fact of the Matter

    @Dead Bear "I hope you all enjoyed my impression of a brain dead conservative Republican."

    Spot on re: brain dead but you're the victim. Obamacare to your rescue. You should be able to relate to that.

    February 18, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  23. ghostwriter

    If I read this right, it's for trucks coming out in the next few years. It says nothing about forcing anyone to replace their whole fleet.

    February 18, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    Followed up, no doubt, with a per-mile taxation model as opposed to the current per-gallon taxation model.

    February 18, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  25. Marty

    Cloward Piven and the marxist paralyzing and destruction of the US continues

    February 18, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14