On Tuesday, the U.S. EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. NGVAmerica, the Natural Gas Vehicles for America association, has provided a summary of the outcomes for the US natural gas vehicle industry, noting this is the first time that such rules have been imposed on this class of vehicles and engines. The regulations start to take effect in 2014 and will be fully phased-in by 2018. The fuel efficiency regulations actually lag the GHG rules by two years, not taking effect until 2016.
Summarizing the rules is not easy, the association says, because the rules establish different requirements for different types of vehicles, segregating vehicles as follows: (1) combination tractors; (2) heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans; and (3) vocational vehicles. The phase-in periods and levels of stringency also vary depending on whether an engine is spark-ignited or compression ignited.
In essence, new trucks will have to be engineered for greater fuel efficiency, in part from engine modifications. NGVAmerica says that while the new rules benefit all truck users, it was disappointed to see a lack of significant incentives toward NGVs, particularly given NGVs displace nearly 100 percent of the petroleum that would be used in a new truck.
NGVAmerica President, Richard Kolodziej, says “The rules are designed to address the urgent and closely intertwined challenges of dependence on oil, energy security, urban emissions and global climate change. Natural gas vehicles help achieve all these goals and more.”
When implemented, the standards for combination tractors would achieve a 9 to 23 percent reduction in emissions and fuel consumption compared to 2010 baseline levels.
(This article compiled using information from NGVAmerica)