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  • Henry Seaton

EPA, NHTSA finalize efficiency standard for heavy trucks

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have adopted final standards for model year 2021-2027 medium- and heavy-duty trucks and model year 2018-2027 trailers to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases. The new rules continue regulations already in place for several years on trucks that largely required manufacturers only to ensure that existing technologies – such as aerodynamics, idle reduction and weight reduction, for example – were used in a major portion of vehicles sold. The final “phase two” program requires the wider application of currently available technologies and the development of new and advanced cost-effective technologies.

Over three model years – 2021, 2024 and 2027 – truck manufacturers will have to meet tractor standards through improvements in the engine, transmission, driveline, aerodynamic design, lower rolling resistance tires, extended idle reduction technologies, and other accessories. Engines will have to meet their own efficiency standards separate from the vehicle itself – a concept that most truck manufacturers opposed.

The trailer standards are similar to those in place in California, but they apply to more trailer types – flatbeds, tankers and container chassis as well as the van-type trailers regulated in California. The standards begin with model year 2018 and increase in stringency in 2021 and 2024 before being fully implemented in 2027. Technologies that could be used to meet the standards include aerodynamic devices, lower-rolling resistance tiers, automatic tire inflation systems and weight reduction.

More information is available from EPA and NHTSA. For a copy of the regulation, which has not yet been formally published, click here.

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