In October, EPA and the Transportation Department proposed the first fuel efficiency standards for vehicles that comprise most of your community's fleet: medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

The “HD National Program” breaks vehicles into three categories: tractor-trailers; pickups/vans; and vocational vehicles like refuse, utility, dump trucks, and transit buses. The proposed standards for the latter apply to chassis manufacturers: Light Heavy (Classes 2b – 5), Medium Heavy (6 and 7), and Heavy Heavy (8).

The rules exclude SUVs, vans that hold 13 or fewer passengers, half-ton pickups, and trailers; and apply not just to the engine but the entire vehicle.

The agencies claim that, using technologies commercially available today, owners of most vehicles would recover their investment in technology upgrades within two years.

Because many operations oversize their engines, NAFA Fleet Management Association ( has asked truck manufacturer Navistar Inc. to address the issue in the April 10, 2011, opening session of the association's annual convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Featuring: Hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles

6.5-cu.-yd. debris dump body

Equipped with a 500-gal. water tank, the Mud Dog single-engine 650 delivers 10 gpm at 2,500 psi for digging and 3,600 cfm/18 Hg air flow for vacuuming up debris. A simple control panel makes operating easy to learn. Super Products LLC.

20% more economical than 2010 models

A standard six-speed automatic transmission and steering system that draws power only when needed increases the fuel-efficiency of the 3.7-liter V6, 5.0-liter V8, 6.2-liter V8, and twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engines. Options include remote start, perimeter alarm, telescoping steering wheel, built-in navigation system, in-dash wireless computer, radio-frequency identification (RFID) asset tracking, and a diagnostics system. A 4.2-in. screen displays menu options that drivers navigate with a five-way button on the steering wheel. They also can zoom in or out on the 3.5-in. screen in the rearview mirror for the optional rear view camera, which is particularly helpful during hookup and other towing operations. Trim levels include the basic XL, STX, XLT, FX2/FX4 and Lariat; King Ranch; Platinum; SVT Raptor; and Harley-Davidson F-150. Ford Motor Co.

Storage-packed Class 3 – 5 chassis cabs

Upfitting's easier with the Ram 3500, 4500, and 5500's industry-standard 34-in. frame rail and four instrument-panel switches that connect to an under-hood 20-amp battery feed and relay-controlled 20-amp ignition. For fuel-powered auxiliary equipment, there's a capped line on the 52-gal. fuel tank and optional 22-gal. tank. Two basic drive trains: a six-speed automatic transmission with the 6.7-liter, 305-hp Cummins turbo diesel engine with SCR and DEF technology; or the five-speed, 5.7-liter, 383-hp HEMI V-8 gasoline engine with variable-valve timing. Both transmissions allow drivers to choose the highest available gear and manually up- or downshift based on road and engine speed. Chrysler Group LLC.

Designed for easy operation and body installation

Configure the VHD as a light-duty 4x2 day cab with a 14,600-lb. front axle and 23,000-lb. rear axle all the way up to a tri-drive rear axle with a sleeper and 143,000-lb. gross combination weight rating. The cab has an electrical pass-through for body installations and 30 in. between seats to accommodate controls. The suspension and frame-mounted hood are isolated to cut down on noise and vibration for a smooth, quiet ride. Choose from three frame thicknesses and two liner configurations with RBM up to 4.2 million; an anti-roll, anti-jackknife system is also available. Volvo Trucks North America.

Turning radius ideal for mix, dump applications

Capable of running on compressed or liquefied natural gas, the T440 is equipped with a Cummins Westport ISL G engine that's rated at 320 hp and 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque and Allison automatic transmission. Gross vehicle weight ranges from a heavy Class 7 vehicle at 33,000 lbs. to a light Class 8 truck at 68,000 lbs. and is available with 12,000- to 22,000-lb.-rated front axles, 21,000- to 26,000-lb.-rated single rear axles, and 40,000- to 46,000-lb.-rated tandem rear axles. Kenworth Truck Co.

Sorry, no photo until next year!

You'll have to be at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 22, 2011, to see what the Class 8 CT660 looks like. It's the first in a line of vocational trucks to be launched at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG construction equipment trade show. Specifications include the company's CT11 engine with ratings from 330 to 390 bhp; CT13 with ratings from 410 to 475 bhp; and, in 2012, a CT15 with ratings from 435 to 550 bhp. Transmission options will include other OEMs like Eaton manual and automated manual as well as the CX31 torque converter-style automatic with three standard locations for rear-drive positions. Caterpillar Inc.

Provides more payload

Available with gas or diesel engines, the 3200 (4x2), 3400 (4x4), 3400XL (4x4), and attachment-ready 3450 (4x4) reach areas where larger equipment can't fit. Even when towing 1,500 lbs. at 30 mph, the compact utility vehicles' four-wheel independent suspension rides smoothly. Electronic fuel-injected gas 4x4 models start easier and run more reliably in higher altitudes. Choose from 1,600-lb. or 1,850-lb. vehicle-rated capacities. Bobcat Co.

Turnkey natural gas vacuum truck

A Business Class M2 112 V compressed natural gas (CNG) truck is equipped with a CNG-powered auxiliary-mounted engine to power the Vac-Con water system; the Allison 3000RDS transmission improves startability and engine performance. Freightliner Trucks.

Heavy-duty hybrid electric truck

Developed with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the 72-in., raised roof Detroit Diesel 15-equipped Cascadia's parallel hybrid system has conventional as well as electrical drive trains. Daimler Trucks North America LLC.

Zero-radius arm

The ZR Series full-eject automated side loader eliminates kick-out in alleys or narrow streets and, combined with load-sensing hydraulics that work only when needed, uses up to 15% less fuel. The arm doesn't require the engine to power up to high rpm, lowering noise levels. McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing Inc.

Fully integrated natural gas system

The Savana's Vortec 6.0L V8 compressed natural gas engine receives hardened exhaust valves and intake and exhaust valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability for gaseous fuel systems. General Motors.

Frameless dump trailer

Neither a square-box nor round-bottom, the Genesis Hybrid combines the best elements of both designs into a lightweight but stable trailer that holds 2 yds. more and is 7 in. lower than a traditional half-round. Depending on options, weight ranges from 9,500 to 10,000 lbs. East Manufacturing.