The U.S. government and the trucking industry are expanding an initiative to roll out safer and more fuel-efficient heavy-duty trucks and buses, according to a report inThe Detroit Free Press.

At the start of a two-day transportation conference in Dearborn, MI, yesterday, U.S. energy secretary Spencer Abraham gave details of the program, dubbed "The New Vision for the 21st Century Truck Partnership."

According to The Free Press, the expanded partnership will encourage the development of new engines that use advanced fuels, improve the safety and security of heavy-duty trucks, and create technologies to reduce engine idling. It builds on a previous collaboration between the government and truck makers launched during the Clinton administration, which also sought to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency.

"The goals will be developed in a more collaborative way,". "In the first program, some of the things were conceived in the White House and thrust on the private sector."

Through the expanded program, the government and the truck makers will continue to share information, but the parties will do so in a more effective way. David Garman, assistant secretary of energy, told The Free Press the new version of the program has increased the number of trucking-related companies involved from nine to 16.

The new program also includes a broader spectrum of trucking-related companies, including engine manufacturers and automakers, Garman said.

Detroit Diesel Corp., Freightliner LLC, Volvo Trucks North America Inc., General Motors Corp. and Allison Transmission are involved in the partnership.