What the rest of the world is doing
Japan was the first country to introduce fuel economy standards for medium and heavy duty vehicles in 2005. Standards that came into effect from 2015 reflect a 10.8% reduction in fuel consumption compared to a 2002 baseline. Proposed standards for 2025 seek to reduce this consumption by a further 13.4%. This is set to be finalized in April this year.
The US proposed introducing truck fuel consumption and GHG emission standards in 2010, and in 2011 adopted Phase 1 of America’s first ever fuel economy standards for trucks. These CO2 and fuel consumption standards are applicable to tractors, commercial pickups and vans, vocational vehicles, and the engines used in tractors and vocational vehicles. Phase 2 regulatory standards adopted in August 2016 additionally incorporates trailers. Combined, the Phase 1 and 2 standards will improve the fuel efficiency of commercial vehicles between roughly 25% and 50% compared to a 2010 baseline.
China adopted its first set of truck fuel economy standards in 2011. The second stage, ‘National Standard’, which went into effect in mid-2014 for new models, applies to city buses and dump trucks (as well as the tractors, cargo trucks, and intercity buses/coaches covered in Stage I). The proposed Stage III standard, announced in May 2016, will apply to all new heavy commercial vehicles in July 2021 and reduce fuel consumption by 15% below 2015 levels.
Most recently, in August 2017 the government of India published final fuel-efficiency standards for commercial heavy-duty vehicles. Phase 1 goes into effect April 1, 2018, while Phase 2 will be effective beginning April 1, 2021. They apply to both vehicle manufacturers and importers. According to a Phase 1 to Phase 2 stringency analysis by ICCT, the fleet-wide fuel-consumption reduction from Phase 1 to Phase 2 is estimated at 10.4%.
By 2020 US trucks could be the most fuel efficient in the world
The introduction of Phase 2 of US truck fuel economy legislation in August 2016 will reduce the fuel use of new long-haul trucks by around 30-45%, compared to 2010. The new American standard means that by 2020 American trucks will overtake European lorries as the most efficient in the world.
The American Trucking Association welcomed this US legislation as EPA estimates have predicted that Phase 2 standards will generate over €150 billion in net savings for American transport businesses. The standards will create a big market for technologies like waste heat recovery, better tires, more efficient transmission, and hybrid engines. Unless Europe acts with ambitious 2025 and 2030 CO2 standards – greater than those in the US – it will lose its role as leader in both environmental legislation and truck manufacturing.