Contractors File Suit Over Feds' New Truck Fuel-Efficiency Standards

First federal greenhouse gas limits on medium and heavy trucks challenged for bypassing independent scientific study

A group of small trucking and construction businesses in California has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the federal government's new fuel-economy standards for heavy duty and medium duty vehicles. The suit was filed by Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the California Dump Truck Owners Association, Southern California Contractors Association, Dalton Trucking of Fontana, Calif., and Delta Construction Company of Sacramento. In it, they charge that federal officials were legally required to submit the regulations for independent scientific scrutiny, but failed to do so.

The regulations, issued jointly by U.S. EPA and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, are the first-ever federal restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from medium and heavy-duty vehicles and would apply to new trucks from 2014 through 2018. They are based on the work the truck does -- gallons per ton-mile and grams of carbon dioxide per ton-mile, rather than miles per gallon and grams per brake horsepower hour.

Vehicles are divided into three major categories: combination tractors (semi trucks), heavy duty pickup trucks and vans, and vocational vehicles. Efficiency targets are specific to a range of vehicle types and purposes within each category.

(More on the lawsuit over federal truck efficiency standards . . . )