Policy update

Japan light commercial vehicle fuel economy standards for 2022

In March, an advisory committee to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) and Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) finalized new fuel economy standards for light and medium commercial vehicles with gross vehicle weights less than 3.5 tonnes. The new standards will require that the fuel economy of model year 2022 light and medium commercial vehicles sold in Japan average 17.9 km/L in 2022, compared to 14.2 km/L in 2012. This represents a 26% increase in fuel economy from 2012 values, and a 23% increase from the 2015 standard of 14.5 km/L.

Targets for individual models will be assigned as a function of body and fuel type, transmission, and curb mass. The number of standard bins will be reduced from 77 under the 2015 standards to 38 for the revised standards.

The fuel economy of individual models will be measured on the JC08 test cycle, with a 25% and 75% weighting for cold- and hot-start fuel economy, respectively.

Individual companies will demonstrate compliance via a corporate average fuel economy approach with harmonic averaging. Manufacturers can use the production of plug-in hybrid and battery electric commercial vehicles to comply with their corporate average targets, with some limitations in order to maintain the incentive to improve conventional vehicles. When a company produces commercial vehicles with alternative drive trains, the corporate average fuel economy for its diesel and gasoline vehicles alone must be at least 90% of its overall regulatory target imposed by the standard. Provisions for labeling are also outlined in the final report.

MLIT and METI will use the proposal as a basis for revisions to relevant laws and regulations, with a target for completion in spring of 2015.

MLIT and METI estimate that the transport sector is currently responsible for 23% of energy use in Japan, a little over a third of which is linked to freight transport. In total, motor vehicles are responsible for 16% of carbon dioxide emissions in Japan.