New fuel economy labels coming to showrooms
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month unveiled new fuel economy labels designed to help consumers take advantage of the increased efficiency standards starting this year. The revamped labels are designed to provide more comprehensive fuel efficiency information, including estimated annual fuel costs and savings, as well as information on each vehicle’s environmental impact.
The new labels are designed to underscore the benefits of the passenger car and truck fuel economy rule adopted by EPA and DOT in 2010 and to give consumers better, more complete information to consider when purchasing new vehicles that are covered by the increased fuel economy standards.
Starting with model year 2013, the new labels will be required to be affixed to all new passenger cars and trucks, including conventional gasoline- and diesel-powered cars and trucks, hybrids and electric vehicles. Consumers will see the new labels in showrooms early next year, when 2013 models begin arriving. Automakers also may voluntarily adopt the new labels earlier for model year 2012 vehicles.
“Our new fuel economy and environmental labels are a win for automobile consumers and for the nation’s energy independence,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These labels will provide consumers with upfront information about a vehicle’s fuel costs and savings so that they can make informed decisions when purchasing a new car.”
President Obama directed DOT and EPA to prioritize the development of new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards, resulting in the standards that will be represented by the new labels. DOT and EPA say the 2010 fuel economy rule, developed with input from major automakers, environmental groups and the states, will dramatically increase the energy efficiency of cars and trucks built in model years 2012 through 2016, saving 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program and the average consumer $3,000 in fuel costs.
This month, the administration plans to finalize the first-ever national fuel economy and GHG emissions standards for commercial trucks, vans and buses built in 2014 to 2018. DOT and EPA say these standards are expected to save hundreds of millions of barrels of oil over the life of the vehicles covered and promote the development and deployment of alternative fuels, including natural gas. The administration also is developing the next generation of joint fuel economy and GHG emissions standards for model year 2017-2025 passenger vehicles and expects to announce the proposal in September.
“The EPA and DOT are creating a new generation of fuel economy labels to meet the needs of a new generation of innovative cars,” says EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “Today’s car buyers want the best possible information about which cars on the lot offer the greatest fuel economy and the best environmental performance. The new labels provide comprehensive information to American car buyers, helping them make a choice that will save money at the gas pump and prevent pollution in the air we breathe.”
Withdrawal of hazmat loading/unloading proposal sought
In comments filed with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the American Trucking Associations asked the agency to withdraw its proposal to regulate the loading and unloading of hazardous materials in order to conduct needed research. “ATA supports PHMSA’s efforts to reduce loading and unloading incidents,” says Richard Moskowitz, ATA vice president. “However, we cannot support the proposed rule as written on the grounds that it will frustrate motor carriers’ ability to comply with the hazardous materials regulations, makes it unlikely that drivers will be properly trained and its costs will far exceed its benefits.”
PHMSA on March 10 published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require additional training for employees and new safety requirements for motor carriers and facilities that transfer hazardous materials to and from rail cargo and highway cargo trucks. PHMSA says its data show that the most dangerous part of transporting hazardous materials by highway cargo trucks and by rail occurs when the hazardous material is being transferred by hose or pipe between the holding facility and the rail or truck transporting it, and that human error and equipment failure also cause the greatest number of incidents during loading and unloading operations.
The NPRM would require practice drills and classroom training of truck drivers and other workers who unload or load hazardous material, training on automatic valve shutdown to ensure the systems are in place and that employees know how to use the systems, and developing inspection and maintenance programs to ensure the safety of hoses, valves and other equipment used in loading and unloading.
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