EU HDVs: Cost effectiveness of fuel efficiency technologies for long‑haul tractor‑trailers in the 2025‑2030 timeframe

Published: 2018.01.16

Dan Meszler, Oscar Delgado, Felipe Rodríguez, and Rachel Muncrief

In the European Union, CO2 emissions from commercial vehicles grew much faster than from passenger vehicles from 1990 to 2014. Trucks and buses now produce about a quarter of CO2 emissions from road transport in the EU, and that share is growing as emissions from cars and vans decline further to meet increasingly tight CO2 standards.

Other major markets—the United States, Canada, China, Japan, and most recently India—have implemented heavy-duty vehicle CO2 standards, and the EU is considering taking that step as well. This study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of long-haul tractor-trailer efficiency technology packages that could become widely deployed in the 2020 to 2030 timeframe, as a contribution to this EU policy dialogue.

The study shows clearly that the potential exists for accelerated deployment of efficiency technologies into the EU freight market. In the mid-term, technologies largely available in the market offer fuel consumption reductions of as much as 27% with payback periods of 1.1 years or less. The 27% reduction package evaluated in the study is projected to cost €7,700 in 2025 and offer lifetime fuel savings of €41,800 to €106,500 per tractor‑trailer. Over the long term, the most advanced technology package evaluated, based on emerging technologies, offers a 43% fuel consumption reduction and is estimated to cost €30,900 in 2030, resulting in lifetime fuel savings of €65,800 to €166,500 per tractor‑trailer. This package offers a payback period within 1.3 to 3.3 years, depending on economic assumptions.

These findings have important implications for Europe's policy dialogue. They confirm that available efficiency technologies for long-haul tractor-trailers, which could be widely deployed in the 2020–2025 timeframe, have fuel savings that greatly exceed the upfront costs of technology and maintenance. Advanced efficiency technologies are emerging that offer even more substantial fuel savings and short payback periods over the long term. These technologies’ attractive payback periods persist even in the face of higher technology costs and low fuel prices, and offer first-owner fuel savings that greatly exceed upfront capital and maintenance costs.

Cumulative fuel-consumption impacts and associated 2030 payback periods for tractor-trailer efficiency technologies.

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