Obama taking next step in truck fuel efficiency

The Obama administration will take the next step on Tuesday in its multi-year effort to cut emissions and reduce oil use by getting even better fuel economy from trucks.

President Barack Obama is set to announce the energy and environmental initiative at a Safeway distribution center in Maryland, a White House official confirmed to CNN.

In action that does not require congressional approval, Obama aims to build on the first-ever fuel standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that now cover model years 2014-18.

That initiative, finalized in 2011, aims to save some 530 million barrels of oil and cut emissions by roughly 270 million metric tons.

In his State of the Union address, Obama promised that this would be a "Year of Action" and he would take steps that do not need congressional input or approval in various policy areas.

Carrying out the second phase of the fuel rules for trucks, Obama will direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Transportation Department to propose a new standards for post-2018 model years.

Obama wants those targets developed by March 2015.

Heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks, buses and vans, rank behind cars in the production of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, according to the Transportation Department.

According to the official, the President will also highlight the success of private-sector partnerships his administration has formed to increase the number of clean, energy-efficient commercial vehicles on the nation's highways.

And Obama is expected to renew a long-ignored call for Congress to end what he calls "subsidies" for oil and gas companies, and use that money to create a new Energy Security Trust Fund to help finance research and development of new vehicle technologies.

Along with the new executive actions, the Obama administration will release a report showing the effects of steps it has taken so far to address fuel efficiency, including historically tough mileage standards for passenger cars and light trucks.

Obama chose to make the latest announcement at Safeway because the company "has been a leader in improving trucking efficiency," the official said, adding that it has invested in "cleaner" technologies,

improved aerodynamics, more efficient tires and larger capacity trailers.

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