New heavy-duty trucks will reduce their fuel consumption 25% by 2027 under a new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission regulation released last week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), covering the 2021 to 2027 model years.
“The final phase two program promotes a new generation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient trucks by encouraging the development and deployment of new and advanced cost-effective technologies,” according to an EPA release. “The final standards are expected to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1.1 billion metric tons, save vehicle owners fuel costs of about $170 billion, and reduce oil consumption by up to two billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program.”
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The new standards would “cover model years 2018-2027 for certain trailers and model years 2021-2027 for semi-trucks, large pickup trucks, vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks,” the agency stated.
“We’re at a pivotal point in our fight against climate change,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Given that reality, we’re using all the tools available.”
The announcement “is a big deal—both for the troposphere and for the lungs of anyone who lives near a popular truck hangout, like a freeway or a port,” Grist reports. “That includes lots of people of colour and low-income communities.”
The announcement “is also a win for companies working on energy efficiency tech,” adds reporter Heather Smith. “The science to improve trucks’ fuel efficiency with features like hydraulic hybrid brakes and more aerodynamic cab styling already exists. But because fuel is currently cheap, the trucking industry has been slow to adopt changes like these.”
Smith says the regulation also eliminates a loophole that previously allowed manufacturers to build new truck designs around older engines that emitted 20 to 40 times more nitrogen oxides and particulates than modern diesel designs.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy applauded the announcement, noting that the standards “will deliver major savings at the pump to truck owners and operators, which will in turn reduce the cost of freight movement.” Most truckers “will recover the incremental cost of the more efficient trucks in less than two years,” writes Senior Researcher Siddiq Khan.
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