(Update: The final China Stage 3 Fuel Consumption Standards were released on February 2018, with minimal changes from the April 2016 proposal, which is summarized in this Policy Update. Translated text of the finalized standards has been added below.)
In April 2016, the third stage of China’s heavy-duty vehicle fuel consumption standard was released for public comment. The China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) proposed the draft rule, which retains the same scope as the second stage of national standards (GB 30510-2014) by setting limits on fuel consumption for new commercial trucks, dump trucks, tractors, coaches, and buses with a gross vehicle weight over 3,500 kg. Similar to the previous two stages, the Stage 3 standard will regulate heavy-duty vehicles with diesel and gasoline engines. The new standard will go into effect on July 1, 2019, for new type approvals, and on July 1, 2021, for new heavy commercial vehicles sold in China.
In China, heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) currently represent about 10% of the new vehicle market. However, because of their high fuel consumption and relatively heavy use in terms of vehicle kilometers traveled, HDVs account for nearly 50% of China’s total on-road fuel use. Two stages of HDV fuel consumption standards—“industry” and “national” standards— were adopted earlier this decade. The Stage 1 Industry Standard was implemented in mid-2012 for type approval of new models, and in mid-2014 for all vehicles. Three common types of HDVs—tractors, straight trucks, and coaches—are regulated under the Industry Standard. The Stage 2 National Standard was implemented in mid-2014 for type approval of new models, and in mid-2015 for all models. It incorporates city buses and dump trucks and tightens fuel consumption limits for tractors, trucks, and coach buses by 10.5%–14%, compared to the limits under the Industry Standard.
In September 2015, China announced that it would release the draft of the Stage 3 HDV fuel consumption standard for public comment in 2016, with the plan to implement the standard in 2019. Preparation for the Stage 3 standard started in 2014, and it included a series of discussions with industry stakeholders, as well as testing and simulations. It was estimated that the average fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles in China is 10%–15% higher than in other, more developed markets, such as United States and Japan. In particular, fleet-wide tractor-trailer fuel consumption rates are about 39 L/100 km and 36–38 L/100 km in the United States and the European Union (EU), but are 44 L/100 km in China.
The goal of this new stage of standard is to reduce fuel consumption by about 15% in 2020 from the 2015 levels, in order to further reduce the gap between China and other more developed markets globally. Setting fuel consumption limits for HDVs is an important, but not the only, measure for saving fuel. This regulation will be implemented together with some other measures, such as optimizing logistics and driving training.