The Stage 4 proposed amendment to China’s heavy-duty vehicle fuel consumption standard: ICCT reflections

Over the past decade, China has worked to limit the fuel consumption of its HDV fleet, mandating, back to 2012, an HDV fuel consumption standard known as Stage 1. This was amended twice, in initiatives known as Stages 2 and 3. In June of 2022, a Stage 4 proposal was published by the government for public comment. It proposes new limits on the fuel consumption of new straight trucks, dump trucks, tractor-trailers, coaches, and city buses with a gross vehicle weight greater than 3,500 kg.

China aims to achieve a leading global position in terms of HDV fuel efficiency. The new proposal is estimated to tighten fuel consumption standards by ~15% as a general target across all vehicle segments. The new standard is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2025 for new type-approvals, and on July 1, 2026 for all new heavy-duty vehicles in China.

Stage 4 builds on Stage 3 in several major ways, by

  • proposing more stringent fuel consumption limits for vehicle categories
  • applying new driving cycles (CHTC) for new vehicle type-approval
  • harmonizing the conversion rate of CO2 emissions as 2,600 g/L for diesel and 2,370 g/L for gasoline
  • clarifying the criteria for type-approval of new variant models.

The study concludes, based on historical data, that Stage 1-3 standards have not achieved significant fuel consumption improvement from the 2013 baseline. It also concludes, from type-approval data, that the most fuel-efficient technologies currently available could still achieve up to a 20% improvement in fuel consumption from the proposed Stage 4 standard. Therefore, it recommends that the Stage 4 fuel consumption standard can be 20% more stringent compared to Stage 3, in order to achieve China’s goal of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality.

Graph showing the weighted-average fuel consumption for heavy-duty vehicles in China, 2013-2021

Figure. Weighted-average fuel consumption for heavy-duty vehicles, 2013-2021

Tracking progress