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Obama sets first fuel standards for big trucks

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Obama to toughen truck emission standardsLarge trucks in the U.S. must cut emissions as much as 20 percent by 2018 under the first standards proposed for work vehicles, the Obama administration said today.

Tractor-trailer trucks have to meet the 20 percent target, while heavy-duty pickups and vans must reduce emissions 10 percent for gas vehicles and 15 percent for diesel-powered models, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement. Buses, motor homes and garbage trucks must cut emissions 10 percent.

“These are historic standards because they’re the first,” Luke Tonachel, an analyst at the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview. “Heavy trucks and buses are the energy hogs of America’s roadways.”

President Barack Obama’s administration has been raising fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles in the U.S. to curb pollution and reduce oil imports. Obama has said he plans to make the truck standards final by July 30, and they would take effect starting with 2014 models.

The government has never set targets for the heavy-duty trucks such as those that are used in construction and hauling and made by companies including Isuzu Motors Ltd., Daimler AG, Volvo AB, Hino Motors Ltd. and Paccar Inc. Light trucks such as standard pickups, sport-utility vehicles and minivans are covered by standards already set for automobiles.

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