EPA and DOT Finalize Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy-Duty Trucks

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Aug. 16 finalized joint greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that require up to 25 percent lower carbon emissions and fuel consumption over the next decade.

For truckstop owners and operators, the new rule stands to reduce the volume of diesel gallons sold as the Phase 2 standards cut oil consumption by up to 2 billion barrels over the lifetime of the model 2021-2027 vehicles sold under the program. Vehicle owners are predicted to spend $170 billion less on fuel.  

The Aug. 16 rulemaking builds on the fuel efficiency and GHG emissions standards already in place for model years 2014-2018. That initial rule projected to cut more than $50 billion in fuel costs. 

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) said in a statement that its leaders were “cautiously optimistic” that the second round of the Obama Administration’s greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for commercial trucks would achieve the targets set out by the administration but that it hoped the 10-year phase-in period would not be unduly disruptive to fleets and manufacturers.

ATA said the agencies addressed concerns such as adequate lead-time for technology development, national harmonization of standards and flexibility for manufacturers in the final rule, but “fleets will ultimately determine the success or failure of this rule based on their comfort level purchasing these new technologies.”

The new technology could tack nearly $15,000 onto the price of a new commercial truck. However, EPA said it expects fuel savings to offset higher equipment costs. 

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) in June said that diesel fuel consumption could decline 18 percent by 2040 after analyzing Phase 2 of the Greenhouse Gas rulemaking.  EIA said new truck standards would reduce total delivered energy consumption in the transportation sector by 6 percent by 2040.

EPA and NHTSA also announced that they will finalize the first ever fuel efficiency and GHG standards for trailers that will begin to take effect in model year 2018 for certain trailers. NHTSA's standards will take effect as of 2021. 

Photo Credit: Ira Wexler/NATSO

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Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman develops and executes communications strategies to advance NATSO’s public relations and advocacy goals. Tiffany also develops and oversees partnerships related to the NATSO Foundation’s public outreach initiatives. Tiffany lives in the D.C. metro area with her husband and their two sons.More
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