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Large trucks the focus of new federal environmental regulations

The entire world is looking at newly announced clean-air standards unveiled earlier this week by American officials, says a spokesperson for a global environmental group.

Evidently, California regulators have had a close eye on the proposals for some time already, and reportedly could soon announce even tougher guidelines than those being espoused by federal authorities.

The focus is decidedly on the nation's massive big-truck fleet, including tractor-trailers, garbage trucks, delivery vans and large pickups.

The bottom line: The Obama administration wants the carbon emissions from those vehicles to be materially reduced by 2025, with cuts being as big as 25 percent for the largest trucks.

Enhanced fuel economy -- that is, more miles per gallon of gas expended -- is the main focus underlying the undeniably ambitious and aggressive environmental policy.

The espoused bottom line: Better economy equates directly to a lower level of air-borne contaminants.

And that is why, notes a recent Scientific American article on reduced big-truck emissions, "fuel economy has become a key piece of the United States' international carbon-cutting commitments."

Notably, medium-sized and large trucks account for an estimated 23 percent or so of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, notwithstanding that such vehicles comprise only about 5 percent of all vehicles on national roadways.

There will undoubtedly be much debate in upcoming months over the regulations, given both some differences in opinion regarding the efficacy of the rules and the compliance costs that will fall upon affected individuals and companies.

As stated, California officials are looking at the federal announcements closely, with state officials citing approval and saying that they might implement even more stringent requirements.

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