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New Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Lorries Finalised

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have jointly finalised new standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles aimed at improving fuel efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. The new standards cover model years 2021­2027 and will apply to semi­lorries, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work lorries. When the standards are fully phased in, tractors in a tractor­trailer will achieve up to 25 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018.

The agencies have also finalised fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for trailers for the first time. The EPA standards, which exclude certain categories such as mobile homes, will take effect beginning with model year 2018 for certain trailers, while NHTSA’s standards will take effect as of 2021 with credits available for voluntary participation before then. The EPA notes that cost effective technologies for trailers, including aerodynamic devices, lightweight construction and self­inflating tyres, can significantly reduce total fuel consumption by tractor­trailers while paying back the owners in less than two years due to the fuel saved. Recognising that many trailer manufacturers are small businesses, the programme includes a one-year delay in initial standards for small businesses as well as simplified certification requirements.

According to an EPA press release, the new standards will promote a new generation of cleaner, more fuel efficient lorries by encouraging the wider application of currently available technologies and the development of new and advanced cost­effective technologies through model year 2027. The final standards are expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 1.1 billion metric tonnes, save vehicle owners fuel costs of about US$170 billion, and reduce oil consumption by up to two billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the programme. Overall, the programme will provide an estimated US$230 billion in net benefits to society.

Heavy­-duty lorries are the second largest segment and collectively make up the biggest increase in the U.S. transportation sector in terms of emissions and energy use. These vehicles currently account for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and oil use in the U.S. transportation sector. According to the EPA, greenhouse gas emissions from heavy­duty vehicles are growing rapidly on a global basis and are expected to surpass emissions from passenger vehicles by 2030. Through the Paris climate agreement and discussions with other countries, the United States is working with other major economies to encourage progress on fuel economy standards and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will improve global energy and climate security by reducing U.S. reliance on oil.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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