On Nov. 13 the, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler launched the Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI) to further decrease nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines
“The U.S. has made major reductions in NOx emissions, but it’s been nearly 20 years since EPA updated these standards,” said Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Through rulemaking and a comprehensive review of existing requirements, we will capitalize on these gains and incentivize new technologies to ensure our heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation.”
The CTI will include a future rulemaking that will update the existing NOx standard which was last set in 2001 while also streamlining compliance and certification requirements.
From 2007 to 2017, U.S. NOx emissions dropped by more than 40%, but there is more work to be done, the EPA said in a statement. It is estimated that heavy-duty trucks will be responsible for one-third of NOx emissions from the transportation sector in 2025. EPA expects that any update to the standards will result in significant mobile source NOx reductions, which will aid communities across the country in the attainment of ozone and particulate matter standards.
EPA last revised NOx standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines in January 2001. The Agency is not required by statute to update the standard. EPA intends to publish a proposed rule in early 2020.
In addition to NOx emissions standards, the CTI will cut red tape while simplifying certification of compliance requirements for heavy-duty trucks and engines. Areas of deregulatory focus will include onboard diagnostic requirements, cost-effective means of reassuring real world compliance by using modern and advanced technologies, the deterioration factor testing process, and concerns regarding annual recertification of engine families.
Reaction to Policy
“Manufacturers welcome EPA’s announcement of a stricter national emissions standard for heavy-duty truck engines,” said Ross Eisenberg, Vice President for Energy and Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturers. This new rule will provide manufacturers with additional regulatory certainty and contribute to the cleaner environment we’ve promised to help deliver.”
The Diesel Technology Forum issued the following statement.
“The new Cleaner Trucks Initiative announced today sets the vision for the heavy-duty diesel engines of the future as high-value assets which help achieve our nation’s future energy and clean air goals while also expanding economic growth. Diesel has always been a technology of continuous improvement and this initiative sets the pace for the next generation of advanced diesel technology.
“Today’s action follows petitions for rulemaking from a number of state and local air agencies, as well as support for a new low NOx standard from truck and engine makers. The EPA last revised these standards in January 2001. The CTI proposal is slated to be released in 2020.
“Along with achieving greater fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions, expectations are high that the future of long-haul commercial trucking will have an even more compelling choice in the next generation of diesel technology. Diesel has long been the technology of choice for the commercial vehicle sector, thanks to its continuous improvement and unique combination of energy efficiency, power and performance, reliability and durability, and most recently, achievement of near-zero emissions. The Cleaner Trucks Initiative will help bring today’s generation of diesel even nearer to zero emissions than ever before.
“The trucking industry continues to invest in the newest generation of advanced diesel technology in record numbers, sending a strong statement about its commitment to diesel power, even among a growing list of alternatives. As a result, today in the U.S. more than 36 percent of all registered operating diesel-powered commercial vehicles are of the newest generation of technology (2011 and newer model years). This is up from 30 percent in 2016, as confirmed by the Diesel Technology Forum’s recent analysis of 2017 US vehicles in operation data (GVW 3-8) provided by IHS Markit. As these newest trucks take to American roads, they rack up significant societal benefits. Today, more than 4.9 million new-generation diesel trucks on the road have removed more than 26 million tonnes of NOx and 59 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to previous generations.
“Even as manufacturers explore other fuels and technology options, continued investments in diesel are strong indicators about the future for advanced diesel engines. Diesel remains the most energy-efficient internal combustion engine, one that offers an unmatched number of choices in size and performance for the broadest range of commercial vehicle operations. Along with near-zero emissions performance, choosing diesel ensures endless flexibilities in routing and operations to meet the ever-changing needs of customers. With well-established service and refueling networks across the United States to ensure maximum up-time, diesel is the proven partner in today’s overnight, same-day, just-in-time delivery world.
“At this stage of the process, there are many aspects to be developed, but truck and engine makers, government, and user groups have the track record of history on our side to work together to realize this important vision that will drive the commercial trucking sector to even lower emissions, using the most advanced diesel and other technologies."