Press statement

China’s commitment to improving heavy-duty vehicle efficiency

Last Friday, during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington, DC, China announced further significant steps to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Among the important elements of China’s strategy is a commitment to adopt new heavy-duty vehicle efficiency standards by 2019. By itself, this will have a substantial impact on China’s overall carbon footprint and on global CO2 emissions. The ICCT applauds the vision and courage of President Xi Jinping and the Government of China in taking this important step toward a more sustainable transportation system.

This will not be the first time China has regulated the efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs). China’s “Industry” and “National” standards, adopted earlier this decade, aimed to eliminate the least-efficient heavy vehicles from the market and, in so doing, reduce China’s CO2 emissions by 4.6 billion metric tons over a 40-year period.

With the next stage of standards, if China were to make significant progress towards producing vehicles competitive with those in the U.S. and EU in terms of technology and real-world efficiency, our estimates are that these standards could produce a cumulative reduction of 2 to 4 billion metric tons of CO2 between 2019 and 2050.

Heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) are mainly used for transporting commercial freight, demand for which is growing worldwide—nowhere more dramatically than in China. China is by far the largest single market for HDVs in the world, currently responsible for 31% of global sales—more than half again as much as the next two largest markets (the US and European Union) combined.

Globally, CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles are growing at a tremendous rate, increasing by 50% over the past 15 years. If left unchecked, they will double over the next 35 years. In 2015 alone, it’s estimated that HDVs will emit 3 billion metric tons of CO2 globally—with about one-fifth of those emissions coming in China.

In summary, Friday’s commitments from China are historic, and will confer massive climate benefits. We applaud this milestone on the road to Paris.


2015 Heavy-duty vehicle sales in the world’s major markets


CO2 Emissions from HDVs in China under various scenarios