E-Communicator Article

Editor's Note: This article is a review of proposed federal EPA regulations and does not impact CARB regulations in place in California.

Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards Proposed for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks

On June 19, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a new set of proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards, named the Phase 2 program, for medium- and heavy-duty trucks to increase fuel efficiency and curb carbon pollution beginning in model year 2021 (model year 2018 for trailers) and phased in by 2027. Phase 1 was an earlier program that placed GHG emission reductions and improvements in fuel efficiency standards on model years 2014–2018 heavy-duty vehicles.

The EPA and the NHTSA state that the Phase 2 standards would benefit the industry by cutting fuel costs by $170 billion as well as lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program. The program would also reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by 24 percent for combination tractors; 8 percent for trailers; and 16 percent for vocational vehicles, pick-up trucks and light vans when compared to the Phase 1 standards. Truck owners who buy new tractor/trailer combination vehicles in 2027 can recoup the extra cost of environment-friendly technologies in two years in fuel savings.

“With emission reductions weighing in at 1 billion tons, this proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “And at the same time, spur technology innovation and job growth while protecting Americans’ health and our environment over the long haul.”

Proposed Regulations
The Phase 2 standards will be similar to Phase 1 standards by using general categories for vehicles and engines compliance. However, they will differ from the earlier regulations by allowing manufacturers to choose the technologies that work best for them to improve truck models.

Strengthening Standards to Reflect Ongoing Technological Advancements: The agencies, with help from industry comments, will have the perspectives necessary to determine appropriate and most feasible standards given the different technologies available and the costs and time needed to test and apply to the commercial truck manufacturing industry.

Encouraging Technological Innovation while Providing Flexibility and Options for Manufacturers: The proposed regulations would allow manufacturers the flexibility to use a mix of different technologies that best meets their needs in reaching federal compliance. Technological advancements that may be utilized include transmission improvements, engine combustion optimization, self-inflating tires and aerodynamic improvements.

Setting Standards for Trailers: Phase 2 standards propose GHG emission regulations for trailers used in combination with tractors for the first time. The regulations would cover the majority of new trailers.

Providing Flexibilities to Help Minimize Effect on Small Businesses: Despite all small businesses being exempt from the Phase 1 standards, they will now be regulated under the Phase 2 program with some flexibility. The agencies propose to delay all new requirements by one year for small businesses and simplify certification requirements in addition to other flexible options for particular trailer types.

What the Industry Thinks
For the most part, the industry is uneasy at the idea of new technologies not fully tested being applied to new commercial trucks in the market as well as price spikes for new truck models because of these technologies.

“Fuel is an enormous expense for our industry—and carbon emissions carry an enormous cost for our planet,” said Bill Graves, American Trucking Associations (ATA) president and CEO, on the ATA website. “That’s why our industry supported the Obama Administration’s historic first round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and large trucks and why we support the aims of this second round of standards.”

However, ATA’s Vice President and Energy and Environmental Counsel Glen Kedzie said the proposal may result in the “deployment of certain technologies that do not fully recognize the diversity of our industry and could prove to be unreliable. This unreliability could slow not only adoption of these technologies, but the environmental benefits they aim to create.” Kedzie also said that truck and engine manufacturers “will need adequate time to develop solutions to meet these new standards.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s (OOIDA) Director of Government Affairs Ryan Bowley said in the association’s official publication, Land Line magazine: “OOIDA still needs to examine the proposal to see if the input from small-business truckers was truly taken to heart. However, based on reviews of initial summaries, we do have concerns that the rule will push truckers to purchase technology that is not fully tested and may lead to costs such as maintenance and downtime that will eclipse the potential savings estimated in the proposal.”

In an article posted on Today’s Trucking website, Daimler Trucks North America’s (DTNA) Director of Product Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Sean Waters released a statement that said: “…As the market leader in fuel efficiency, and the first to certify all of our products to Phase 1 GHG standards, DTNA shares EPA and NHTSA goals to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gases. We believe that the rule should reflect realistic vehicle production and operating conditions, and consider the cost-efficient, fuel-saving technologies in fleet operations in order to successfully meet our shared goals…We are just beginning to review the details of the NPRM, and will continue to work with EPA and NHTSA on developing a final rule consistent with our goals of providing emissions and fuel economy benefits that reduce the 'Real Cost of Ownership' for our customers."

Cummins’ engine business is positive about the announcement made by the agencies that would benefit truck owners and the environment.

Dave Crompton, the company’s vice president and president of engine business, said: “Cummins welcomes the proposal with its goals to improve fuel efficiency and reduce GHG emissions, creating a win-win for both customers and the environment. We are pleased that the new proposal builds upon the Phase 1 framework that aligns technological advances and industry success."

Public Comments To Be Scheduled
The industry will be able to comment on the proposed regulations within 60 days after its final publication in the Federal Register. As of the printing of this Communicator issue, the regulations haven’t yet been published.

Taking into consideration the two public hearings and the 60-day comment period, the agencies expect to finalize the Phase 2 program standards by 2016.


Editor's Note: This article is a review of proposed federal EPA regulations and does not impact CARB regulations in place in California.

Federal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards Proposed for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks

- CMSA Communicator

California Moving & Storage Association 1998-2013
10900 E. 183rd St., Ste 300, Cerritos, CA 90703-5370
(562) 865-2900 - (800) 672-1415 - (562) 865-2944 Fax