Press release

[Press release] Proposed truck efficiency standards establish U.S. global leadership in low-carbon commercial vehicles sector

ICCT research finds major efficiency improvements in U.S. truck sector are cost effective with off-the-shelf technologies

On June 19, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Transportation proposed new regulations to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by new medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. The regulations would phase in between 2018 and 2027, and build on initial standards adopted in 2011 that cover the period from 2014 to 2018.

In the two years leading up to the proposed rulemaking, the ICCT published thirteen original technical reports (see attached resource sheet) to inform various aspects of the in-development regulatory standards. The ICCT’s simulation modeling and cost analysis indicate that the efficiency targets in the proposed regulation can largely be reached with road-tested, off-the-shelf technologies that have payback periods substantially below two years. In particular, technologies for tractor-trailers that could increase typical highway fuel economy from 6–7 miles per gallon today up to about 10 miles per gallon and deliver payback periods between 6 months and 2 years, depending on fuel prices and other economic assumptions.

“With an estimated payback period of within 2 years for tractor-trailers, this proposal hits the mark,” said Nic Lutsey, ICCT program director. “There are a lot of available and ready-to-be-deployed technologies, and this proposed regulation ensures that the most cost-effective of those technologies see more widespread use.”

While its direct goal is increasing energy efficiency in the U.S. transportation sector to address climate change and improve oil security, the proposed regulation would have a global impact. The same companies that develop and deploy efficiency technologies for engines, transmissions, improved aerodynamics, and lower rolling resistance tires for the U.S. fleet also do business across the world. Globally, heavy-duty trucks and buses account for almost half the oil consumption and carbon emissions from the on-road transport sector.

“The world’s major economies will take important policy guidance from this proposal,” said Drew Kodjak, the ICCT’s Executive Director. “Setting long-term standards – in this case eleven years out into the future – will help industry invest with great confidence in reliable, sustainable low-carbon technologies.”

At present, only three nations besides the U.S. have established heavy-duty vehicle efficiency regulations, but these four markets alone accounted for about a third of heavy-duty vehicle sales in 2014. China, Japan, and Canada have foundational regulations in place and are working on second-phase standards. In addition, Brazil, Europe, India, Mexico, and South Korea are all deliberating over initial truck efficiency policy. These countries will look to the U.S. rulemaking as they develop standards to promote existing and emerging technologies that cost-effectively deliver real-world benefits.

“The best policies include all the stakeholders and consult all the available data,” said Nic Lutsey. “This rulemaking profited from a high level of engagement from all the parties. We look forward to better understanding the proposed rule and continuing to actively engage in the process toward a final rule.”

The ICCT recognizes this moment as a very important milestone toward the final adoption of standards that are expected in the early 2016 timeframe. The federal agencies, as well as the State of California, have clearly set out on a highly inclusive process that has engaged the many varied stakeholders related to the rulemaking. The 2014 and early 2015 engagement has included numerous public presentations, technical workshops, and meetings that have provided many opportunities for stakeholders to share their views on how the regulations for these vehicles and their components can be improved in the second phase of regulations. In the context of international policy making, this work has set a very high standard for a data-driven process and for strong engagement between all the relevant parties.

Contact: Nic Lutsey,, +1 202 407 8342

Resources: Research in Support of U.S. Proposed Heavy-Duty Vehicle Rule

Below are links to the ICCT’s recent research on heavy-duty vehicle topics that apply to the U.S. heavy-duty vehicle Phase 2 rulemaking. The work informs and analyzes technology availability, technology cost, and regulatory design.

Market barriers: Technology availability, credible information, uncertain payback time

Tractor-trailers: Engine efficiency, technology availability, technology simulation, payback period in the 2020-2030 time frame

Regulatory design: Structure, simulation modeling

Trailers: Market, regulatory design, technology, cost

Commercial pickups and vans

Clean air