U.S. efficiency and greenhouse gas emission regulations for model year 2018-2027 heavy-duty vehicles, engines, and trailers

Published: 2016.08.25

Ben Sharpe, Nic Lutsey, Oscar Delgado, and Rachel Muncrief

On August 16, 2016 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the final rulemaking for heavy-duty vehicle fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas standards. The new standards, which will take effect in 2018 and run through 2027, are Phase 2 of the Obama administration's effort to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions from trucks and buses. This policy update provides a summary of the finalized standards for the various regulatory categories and the estimated costs and benefits of the rule.

The structure of the Phase 2 regulation is similar to Phase 1, with regulatory standards for tractors, commercial pickups and vans, vocational vehicles, and the engines used in tractors and vocational vehicles. In addition, the Phase 2 rule incorporates one new major category: trailers. The regulatory targets for Phase 2 are shown in the figure below and also include impacts of the Phase 1 regulation. Combined, the Phase 1 and 2 standards will improve the fuel efficiency of commercial vehicles between roughly 25% and 50% compared to a 2010 baseline. The Phase 2 rule continues to drive the development and deployment of cost-effective technologies, and the estimated payback times for tractor-trailers, heavy-duty pickup trucks, and vocational vehicles are two, three, and four years, respectively.



The agencies estimate that the Phase 2 standards will yield over $200 billion in net savings for the vehicles affected by the rule. Fuel savings will be over half a million barrels of oil per day in 2035, and by 2050, when the rule is fully phased-in, these savings increase to over 800,000 barrels per day. Together with Phase 1, the increased efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses will cut fuel use by over one-third by 2050.