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July 31, 2018   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Efficiency Mandates in the U.S. and EU

Pushing commercial truck efficiency to new levels on both sides of the pond.

Over 95 percent of all commercial trucks are powered by diesel engines, and these new trucks are more efficient than ever. Since 2014, the U.S. has been phasing in Phase 1 of its first ever rules establishing efficiency requirements and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) limits for new trucks. According to 2016 National Emissions Inventory information, transportation sources account for 28 percent of all GHG emissions by sector. Of the transportation sector, medium and heavy-duty trucks account for 23 percent of all GHG emissions. 

The U.S. standards require CO2 and fuel consumption reductions based on vehicle type, ranging from 6–23 percent compared to a model year 2010 baseline. Today in 2018, Phase 2 requirements are in place - extending through 2027, further lowering levels of allowable CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by 16-19 percent for vocational vehicles and up to 30 percent for tractor trailers. Manufacturers having solidly achieve the Phase 1 requirements are bringing new innovation in fuel efficiency to commercial vehicles as part of the compliance strategy. 

In Europe, according to 2014 data, road transport is responsible for over 20 percent of the EU’s total CO2 emissions: cars and vans account for about 15 percent and heavy-duty vehicles (lorries, buses and coaches) for about 5 percent. CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles have grown constantly between 1990 and 2010, mainly as a result of an increase in road freight traffic.

The European Commission (EC) climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission from transports by 30 percent by 2030 (compared to 2005 levels) is currently under discussion. The Commission’s two-step approach announced in May 2018 in Brussels proposed CO2 reduction targets for 2025 and 2030 for heavy-duty commercial trucks. Truck manufacturing representatives at the European Automobile Manufacturers Association ACEA expressed concern due to the close proximity of the first milestone (2025) to the current day business cycle and produce planning, which is well underway. The truck manufacturing industry in the EU also supports the proposal to validate the indicative 2030 target at a later point, as this would allow the latest fuel efficiency technologies available at that point in time to be taken into account. Trucks move more than 14 billion tonnes of goods per year. They deliver more than 70 percent of all land-based freight in Europe, or some 90 percent of the total value of goods.

Whether in the U.S. or EU, reducing fuel consumption is a strategy that everyone can benefit from. Manufacturer innovations in fuel savings are such now that fleets that have not upgraded their vehicle fleets run the risk of reduced competitiveness with those operating a newer generation fleet. To illustrate the difference, Daimler Trucks organized a controlled fleet fuel economy test and demonstrated an 8 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over a 2016 model in a carefully controlled side by side verified test. Over the course of driving 120,000 miles a year, an 8 percent reduction in fuel consumption could translate into savings of 1200 gallons of diesel or $4200 at $USD 3.50/gallon. Whether in euros, pounds or dollars, the savings from the newest generation diesel commercial vehicles are real!


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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

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