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Fuel for Thought

Anyone thinking market forces and technology have pushed the fuel efficiency of modern heavy-duty trucks as far as it can go, had better start thinking again.

No less a power than US President Barack Obama has directed federal environmental and transportation authorities to develop and issue new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, with implementation by March 31, 2016.

This latest presidential push for greater fuel efficiency follows the Obama administration’s 2011 directive which required truck makers to achieve a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse emissions on new heavy-duty models from 2014 to 2018.

The extent of fuel efficiency improvements from the latest directive is sure to be ambitious. It is, however, also sure to have truck makers – and trailer makers for that matter – looking for every opportunity in aerodynamics, performance and componentry to save the slightest drop of fuel.

Australia, of course, is far removed from the US market but the popularity and success of US-designed trucks on our market suggests that somewhere down the track, in some shape or form, the ripple effect will cause at least some of the fuel gains to rub off on Australian models.

There’s sure to be some pain for truck makers and their suppliers in the search for greater fuel savings but ultimately, with oil prices heading only one way, the end result can only be a good one.

Source: Leading independent industry journalist.

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