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U.S. Proposes Stricter Standards for Lorries

The EPA and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled on 19 June a proposal to establish more stringent greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty lorries. The proposed standards are expected to lower CO2 emissions by approximately one billion metric tonnes, cut fuel costs by about US$170 billion and reduce oil consumption by up to 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the programme. These reductions are nearly equal to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use by all U.S. residences in one year.

According to the EPA, the proposed vehicle and engine performance standards would cover model years 2021-2027 and apply to semi-lorries, large pick-up lorries and vans and all types and sizes of buses and work lorries. They would achieve up to 24 percent lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018, based on the fully phased-in standards for the tractor alone in a tractor-trailer vehicle. The EPA states that the proposed standards (i) are grounded in rigorous technical data and analysis; (ii) reflect extensive outreach with industry and other stakeholders; (iii) rely on cost-effective technologies to enhance fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are currently available or in development; (iv) do not mandate the use of specific technologies and allow manufacturers to choose those technologies that work best for their products and their customers; (v) will be phased in over the long-term; and (vi) are flexible by allowing banking and trading emissions credits for most manufacturers and providing businesses the opportunity to choose the most cost-effective path to meet the standards.

A public comment period will be open for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. In addition, the EPA and the NHTSA will host two public hearings and continue an open-door policy of meeting with stakeholders over the course of the comment period.

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