The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is pushing the Obama administration to pursue new greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel efficiency standards on the heavy-duty vehicle sector, which is a sweet spot for natural gas vehicles (NGV).

In play is the second phase of heavy-duty vehicle standards that went into effect in 2011 with support from truckers, the energy industry, labor and consumer groups. The initial standards have spawned demand for more efficient heavy-duty vehicles, EDF said.

The head of Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica), Matt Godlewski, told NGI on Friday that his Washington, DC-based trade group has been working closely with the Obama administration on the proposed standards, but he drew short of outlining what NGVAmerica would like to see in the second phase requirements.

"We have been meeting with the administration on the coming heavy-duty rule and continue to discuss it with our members," Godlewski said. "I anticipate we will have more to say on it as its expected release gets closer in the next couple weeks."

EDF and a broad coalition of stakeholders is pushing for requirements to reduce fuel consumption for heavy-duty vehicles by at least 40% by 2025 from 2010 levels. It expects these proposed standards could be made in the next two weeks by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

This is another part of EDF's national effort to reduce GHG emissions and/or methane emissions from vehicles and the oil/natural gas industry (see Daily GPI, May 20). By EDF's estimates, the heavy-duty vehicle sector consumes more than 125 million gallons of fuel daily, which translates into 450 million metric tons of climate pollution annually.

"We at EDF estimate that if the administration adopts strong standards that cut fuel consumption, 40% by 2025, the first and second phase standards together could provide significant climate and economic benefits," EDF said.

Last year President Obama set a schedule for adopting a second phase of standards for the heavy-duty model year 2018 and later. The proposed expanded goals would be for reducing climate pollution by 270 million metric tons annually; cutting fuel use by 1.4 million b/d; and saving the average tractor-trailer owner $30,000/year in fuel costs.