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EPA and NHTSA Propose Heavy Duty GHG and FE Regulations

On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued proposed regulations addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel efficiency requirements for new heavy-duty vehicles.  The rules take effect starting in 2018 for trailers and 2021 for engines and trucks and phase-in over a ten year period.  The Phase 2 rulemaking (Phase 1 rules were finalized in 2011) includes requirements for engines, trailers, and complete trucks and set different levels of stringency for different categories of vehicles (e.g., large pickup trucks, vocational vehicles, transit buses, tractor trailers).

A fact sheet released by the agencies indicates that the new rules will “cut GHG emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons, conserve approximately 1.8 billion barrels of oil, and lower fuel costs by about $170 billion over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program.”

NGVAmerica released a press release on Friday commending the agencies for the proposal and for the collaborative process that EPA has undertaken leading up to development of the rules. NGVAmerica and its members support the objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing reliance on petroleum.  We also appreciate the manner in which the agencies appear to have given careful consideration to issues affecting natural gas vehicles.  Furthermore, we recognize the importance of continuing to achieve additional reductions in greenhouse gas and criteria pollutants as part of a comprehensive effort to address climate change and improve public health.

In 2027 when the standard is fully phased in, heavy-duty vehicles across all classes would achieve up to the following CO2 emissions:

  • 24 percent for combination tractors designed to pull trailers and move freight when compared to Phase 1 standards;
  • 8 percent for trailers when compared to an average model year 2017 trailer;
  • 16 percent for vocational vehicles when compared to Phase 1 standards; and
  • 16 percent for pick-up trucks and light vans when compared to Phase 1 standards.

The notice also indicates that new engines will need to achieve a 4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

NGVAmerica has begun the process of reviewing the 1,300 plus page notice released by the agencies. There are a number of issues that NGVAmerica will be reviewing with members to ascertain their impact. With the input of members, we will submit detailed comments on the proposal. EPA plans to provide a 60-day comment period that will run from the date of publication in the Federal Register. It could be several weeks before this notice appears in the Federal Register, so comments are likely to be due in late August or September. The agencies also plan to hold hearings sometime in the next several months.

The proposed regulation and other materials related to this rulemaking are available here.

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