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More Efficient Trailers to Hit the Road with 2018 Model Year

This summer the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced thePhase 2 federal greenhouse-gas (GHG) and fuel-economy regulations that will apply to model-year 2018 trailers, marking the first time the DOT and EPA have proposed efficiency and GHG standards for trailers.


Ben Sharpe, a senior researcher at the International Council for Clean Transportation, said the Phase 2 fuel and CO2 savings start at 5 percent for a van with side skirts and a boat tail device and move to 7 percent for what is currently a SmartWay Elite classification.

To meet the Phase 2 proposals, Sharpe said dry-van and refrigerated trailers will need side skirts that cover wheels, rear-end fairings, and possibly gap-reduction devices. Trailers would also utilize low-rolling-resistance tires and automatic tire-inflation devices. Manufacturers would have to comply with the regulations by analyzing their models with an algebraic formula devised by the EPA and NHTSA, he explained.

Mark Rosekind, administrator of the NHTSA, said there is no one path manufacturers will take to meet the requirements. He added that NHTSA has heard from “plenty of companies” that said trailers meeting Phase 2 standards “will be available soon. Everybody will have lots of choice,” he said.

Although the regulations won’t take effect for several years and are aimed at trailer manufacturers, aerodynamics-device manufacturers and tire suppliers, a number of fleets are already meeting the standards, saving fuel and cutting costs. To achieve maximum fuel savings, a number of carriers are already utilizing a combination of existing technologies.

PHASE 2:

Federal Greenhouse-Gas and Fuel-Economy Regulations

The proposed standards are expected to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons, cut fuel costs by about $170 billion, and reduce oil consumption by up to 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program. These reductions are nearly equal to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with energy use by all U.S. residences in one year. The total oil savings under the program would be greater than a year’s worth of U.S. imports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) each year.

By "Move Ahead" Staff