White paper

International vehicle labeling programs and recommendations for a heavy-duty vehicle greenhouse gas emission labeling program in China


Regulatory standards and mandatory market requirements are insufficient to decarbonize the HDV sector. Vehicle labeling, and more broadly, the various programs of vehicle environmental information disclosure, are powerful complementary measures—and are critical tools for guiding consumer choice over low-carbon HDVs.

Despite the importance of a robust HDV labeling program, only three regions have developed one: the European Union (EU), Japan, and California—a small number compared to the more than 30 labeling programs for light-duty vehicles (LDVs). This paper provides policymakers in China and across the globe with best practices and recommendations for developing and designing GHG labels for HDVs. The key findings for labeling programs are:

  • A typical vehicle GHG or efficiency label contains four types of information: vehicle information, GHGs and efficiency, economic performance, and label notes.
  • Vehicle technical information and data on economic performance are critical in the purchase decisions of private car owners.
  • Further investigation is needed on methodologies for developing an effective HDV GHG labeling program that covers GHG emissions and efficiency, rating system, and economic performance.

Based on our assessment of international vehicle labeling programs, we recommend that policymakers take the following actions to establish a robust HDV GHG emission labeling program for China. The program should

  • Include CO2, N2O, CH4, and HFCs, with total annual GHGs expressed in terms of CO2
  • Label HDVs by vehicle type, powertrain type, and GVW segment. And it should cover electric and fuel-cell HDVs.
  • Develop labels that reflect regulatory goals and address consumer concerns. Figures ES 1 and ES 2 illustrate the proposed label designs for a diesel straight truck in segment ST8 (GVW 16,000 kg–20,000 kg), and an electric coach in CB9 (GVW 16,500 kg–18,000 kg).
image of proposed GHG label for diesel straight truck in China

Figure 1. China HDV GHG Label Template – Diesel straight truck

Image of proposed GHG label for electric coaches in China

Figure 2. China HDV GHG label template – Electric coach

The paper also makes various recommendations for program staff regarding methodologies.