Speaking at a Safeway Inc. distribution center in Maryland on Feb. 18, President Obama ordered his staff to develop a proposed rule further tightening greenhouse-gas emissions by heavy- and medium-duty trucks by March 2015 and to complete the process a year after that.
Obama chose the Safeway facility in Upper Marlboro because of the grocery chain’s commitment to cleaner freight transportation, calling it an “early leader.” As he spoke, he pointed to Safeway tractor-trailers parked nearby.
Safeway ranks No. 26 on the Transport Topics Top 100 Private Carriers list.
The president was accompanied by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. EPA and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Transportation Safety Administration developed the first greenhouse-gas rule that set standards for truck fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions, first for 2014 and then for 2017.
The president did not specify timing for when the new rule would take effect.
Obama praised several major companies in his remarks that lasted almost 20 minutes. He said that if competitors such as FedEx Corp. and UPS Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc., and AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications could join in the effort to use cleaner trucks, “maybe Democrats and Republicans can get together, too.”
The president also suggested offering tax credits to manufacturers of clean vehicles and to fuel-stop operators selling clean fuels. While the fuel standards can be done within the executive branch, changing the tax code would require congressional action.