A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but trucks designed for work shouldn't be held to the same fuel-economy standards as those marketed for personal use.
Essentially that is the argument industry lobbyists made to successfully influence provisions to address “work trucks” written into the energy legislation passed late last year that updated the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements.
“The way the legislation was written, it will be good for all involved, especially compared to where they started from,” Michael Kastner, senior director of government activities for the National Truck Equipment Assn. (NTEA), told Fleet Owner.
“Originally, there were to be fuel economy standards included for vehicles under 10,000 lb. and for vehicles over 10,000 lb.,” he explains. “The original proposal involved picking a benchmark number and having it rise by 5% each year. So, theoretically anyway, manufacturers would have to make such a gain year after year and that's impossible.”
Instead, Kastner explains, after lobbying by NTEA and others, a provision was added to the bill to create a “work truck” category, which currently remains undefined, for vehicles ranging from 8,500 to 10,000 lb. that are not purchased for personal use.
Kastner said the bill calls for establishing fuel-economy standards for trucks over 10,000 lb. — in time to be effective for the 2016 model year-that will take into direct account that these are commercial vehicles and cannot have their fuel economy standards set in the same manner as passenger cars.
“[Congress] realized they did not know how to capture the metrics for fuel-economy standards for trucks,” Kastner says. “That will now be determined by a study, to be completed by the National Academy of Sciences, that will aim to establish fuel economy marks that can be achieved by vehicles still capable of the jobs they must perform and the subsequent rulemaking” to put the new rules in place.