December, 2010
News in Brief
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

DOE and EPA Release 2011 Annual Fuel Economy Guide and Propose Truck Standards


SUVs and Passenger Vans Included for First Time

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) released the 2011 Fuel Economy Guide, providing consumers with information about estimated mileage and fuel costs for model year 2011 vehicles. Overall, the best fuel economy performers are hybrids, but the 2011 fuel economy leaders also include fuel-efficient clean diesels as well as gasoline models. Each vehicle listing in the guide provides an estimated annual fuel cost. The estimate is calculated based on the vehicle's miles per gallon (mpg) rating and national estimates for annual mileage and fuel prices.

The online version of the guide allows consumers to input their local gasoline prices and typical driving habits to receive a personalized fuel cost estimate.

For the first time, the guide includes medium-duty passenger vehicles, which generally are large sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and passenger vans. These vehicles were not previously subject to fuel economy measurement and labeling requirements.

In addition to being available on the EPA/DOE website and in automobile dealer showrooms, the Fuel Economy Guide also is readily accessible from many mobile devices (

For more information, including a complete version of the guide, go to

EPA Proposes First Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks and Buses

EPA and DOT announced the first national standards to reduce green-house gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. This comprehensive national program is projected to reduce GHG emissions by about 250 million metric tons and save 500 million barrels of oil over the lives of the vehicles produced within the program's first five years.

For combination tractors, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards that begin in the 2014 model year and achieve up to a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption by 2018 model year.
For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, the agencies are proposing separate gasoline and diesel truck standards, which phase in starting in the 2014 model year and achieve up to a 10 percent reduction for gasoline vehicles and 15 percent reduction for diesel vehicles by 2018 model year (12 and 17 percent respectively if accounting for air conditioning leakage).

Lastly, for vocational vehicles, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards starting in the 2014 model year which would achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 2018 model year.

Overall, NHTSA and EPA estimate that the heavy-duty national program would provide $41 billion in net benefits over the lifetime of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles. With the potential for significant fuel efficiency gains, ranging from seven to 20 percent, drivers and operators could expect to net significant savings over the long term.

New technologies include widespread use of aerodynamic improvements and tire rolling resistance, as well as engine and transmission upgrades.

EPA and NHTSA are providing a 60-day comment period that begins when the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The proposal and information about how to submit comments is at: and

As part of the process of developing this proposed rulemaking, NHTSA has prepared a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its proposed fuel efficiency standards. The draft EIS compares the environmental impacts of the agency's proposal with those of a number of regulatory alternatives. Comments may be submitted on the Draft EIS through January 3, 2011, and information on the submission of comments for this document may be found at the NHTSA web address listed above.

AIHA® Releases Corrosive Drywall White Paper

AIHA identifies the problem and promotes the use of science to address the issue

The American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) has announced the release of the white paper on corrosive drywall. The document serves to identify the problems posed by corrosive drywall, as well as the role of science in understanding the resulting safety and health issues.

Corrosive drywall (CDW) was installed in tens of thousands of individual homes, as well as larger buildings, as early as 2001. Most of these structures are located in, but not limited to, Florida, Louisiana and Virginia. While some builders have remediated CDW by replacing all drywall in homes, many homeowners and builders are waiting for funding and verification of more efficient repair methods.

Medical studies evaluating the health of persons residing in CDW homes are limited. The physicians considered study findings preliminary and recommended further research. No studies are currently under way to evaluate this significant public concern.

To address the concerns regarding the use and handling of CDW, AIHA is urging immediate scientific research to address the following areas of uncertainty:

(a) Etiologic mechanisms for the release of sulfide gases

(b) Emission rates and duration

(c) Characterization of specific chemicals in emissions and their potential contribution to corrosion, odor and irritation

(d) How emissions change over time and under varying environmental conditions

(e) Occupant health risks (requires clinical and epidemiologic study)

(f) Operational implications of electrical and mechanical components with and without blackening

(g) Worker exposure during CDW demolition and cleanup
To read the document in its entirety, please locate the white paper at

News item submitted by Kenneth Kruger, ACI.

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