Proposed second phase of GHG emission standards unveiled Private Motor Carrier

Proposed second phase of GHG emission standards unveiled

Greenhouse Gas limits would apply to 2021-27 trucks. Trailers also affected.

Regulators in the U.S. have unveiled their latest plans to slash Greenhouse Gas emissions, targeting 2021-27 Model Year trucks. And, for the first time, trailers are targeted with emission standards of their own.

The proposals were unveiled earlier today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its partners at the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The U.S. EPA would begin applying trailer standards as early as the 2018 Model Year, although the standards are voluntary until NHTSA applies its version of the rules in 2021. Gains are to be made using everything from aerodynamic devices to lightweight components and self-inflating tires.

The standards for tractors and engines are proposed to start in 2021, increase in 2024, and be fully in place by 2027. They would reduce emissions by 24% when compared to a 2018 tractor. In the U.S. this would translate into $170 billion in fuel savings and 1 billion metric tons in reduced CO2 emissions during the lifetime of the vehicles. This would save more oil (1.8 billion barrels) than the U.S. currently imports from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in a year.

At this point it’s all projected to add $10,000 to $12,000 to the cost of a tractor-trailer, with fuel savings offsetting the additional equipment costs within two years.

Canada has traditionally adopted U.S. emission standards, which have previously targeted smog-producing NOx and Particulate Matter. Those gave birth to equipment such as Exhaust Gas Recirculation systems and Diesel Particulate Filters.

The latest “Phase 2” rule includes separate engine standards to ensure that technology continues to advance as well.

“Canadian regulators need to carefully consider every line of the proposal before adopting such rule changes,” cautioned Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada. “Equipment changes on this side of the border could be limited by existing weight and dimension regulations, which differ from those in the U.S. Past experience has also shown us that promised fuel savings don’t always come to fruition in the field. Emission-related equipment changes have also led to increased downtime and new maintenance challenges. We need to be sure that promised fuel savings are not simply replaced by higher maintenance costs.”

“Once upon a time, to be pro-environment you had to be anti-big-vehicles. This rule will change that,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says. “These efficiency standards are good for the environment and the economy. When we use less fuel, shipping costs go down. it’s good news all around, especially for anyone with an online shopping habit.” The assumption on the latter comment, of course, is that such purchases require trucks for home deliveries, rather than the family minivan. These rules cover semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, buses and work trucks.

Manufacturers will also be able to bank and trade emission credits, allowing for options like high-horsepower, long-nose conventional trucks that would not otherwise meet the limits.

A public comment period will be open for 60 days, while feedback will also be collected through two public hearings.

More information is available at www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/regs-heavy-duty.htm and www.nhtsa.gov/fuel-economy.