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Cummins Officials Support Higher Fuel Efficiency Standards

Officials with Columbus-based Cummins say they favor new fuel efficiency standards being proposed by the Obama Administration.  The large engine manufacturer plans to make changes, but can’t increase efficiency on its own.

The new standards, announced Monday, would require long-haul trucks to burn significantly less gas and emit far less pollution by 2016.  To comply, trucks would have to average more than 35 miles per gallon and shrink carbon emissions by 30 percent from current levels.  Spokesman Mark Land said the company may be taking an unorthodox stance on the new rules.

“You don’t hear a lot of companies saying ‘We want to be regulated’,” Land said. “In our case, we think it makes sense.  First of all, it’s the right thing to do for the environment.  Secondly, we’re already investing a lot of money in improving the fuel economy of our engines and making them run more cleanly.”

But Land is quick to point out it’s not just the engines his company manufactures which must be more efficient – it’s the vehicle as a whole.

“It’s going to take changes in truck design, it’s going to take changes, for example, maybe in tire materials, it’s going to take driver education.  There are a whole bunch of things that go into making a vehicle more fuel efficient.  The engine is a big piece of it, but it’s not the only piece.”

Land said it’s too soon to say what Cummins will do next to improve its engines, adding the company will use a $54 million Department of Energy grant to lead a multi-company task force which will offer solutions for improving truck technology.

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