US truck greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency proposed standard released

In the United States the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration are working on producing greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks. The new standards that make up the Heavy-Duty National Program are to cover model years 2021 to 2027 and are the next phase (Phase 2) to cover greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for the trucking industry. The EPA and the NHTSA have previously come together to develop the first phase of the standards which is midway through its implementation (2014-2018)

The proposed standards are to be met through the wider development of existing and advanced technologies that shall be achievable and affordable to implement by the standards introduction. Under the proposed standards the fuel consumption of a tractor trailer should drop by up to 24%.

Under the lifetime of the vehicles the standards will be inforce for it is predicted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about one billion metric tonnes and to save 284 billion litres of fuel.

The American Trucking Associations has expressed their support for the measures and indicated it meets 14 of their 15 preferred guiding principles for for evaluating future emissions standards.

However the organisation has expressed concern that the standards could create pressure for potential fuel-saving technologies to be installed on vehicles before they are fully tested.

Furthermore according to the ATA their members would like to see the technology which is expected to add US$10,000 to US$12,000 to the price of a truck be recuperated within 18 to 24 months. According to the EPA and the NHTSA the costs will be recouped by 2 years for a tractor/trailer combo but other vehicles such as pick-ups or vans would take longer at about three years.

Despite the additional cost to purchase a new truck under these standards according to the EPA and NHTSA the benefits to society (including the road transport industry) outweigh costs over the lifetime of the vehicles by a ratio of 10:1.

American President Barack Obama has requested the standards be finalised by March next year.