The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The final, phase-two program promotes a new generation of cleaner, more fuel efficient trucks by encouraging wider application of currently available technologies and development of new and advanced cost-effective technologies through model year 2027.

Final standards are expected to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1.1 billion metric tons, save vehicle owners about $170 billion in fuel costs of reduce oil consumption by up to 2 billion barrels throughout the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program. The agencies project the program will provide $230 billion in net benefits to society including benefits to climate and public health, and estimate that buyers of new long-haul trucks in 2027 would recoup the investment in fuel-efficient technology in less than two years through fuel savings.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says, “This next phase of standards for heavy- and medium-duty vehicles will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while driving innovation, and will ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in developing fuel-efficient technologies through the next decade and beyond.”

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx adds, the “ambitious but achievable announcement is a huge win for the American people, giving us cleaner air, more money saved at the pump, and real benefits for consumers across the supply chain.”

These vehicles currently account for about 20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and oil use in the U.S. transportation sector.

Vehicle and engine performance standards would cover model years 2021 to 2027, and apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks. When the standards are fully phased in, tractors in a tractor-trailer will achieve up to 25% lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018.

The agencies are also finalizing fuel efficiency and GHG standards for trailers for the first time. The EPA trailer standards, which exclude certain categories such as mobile homes, will begin to take effect in model year 2018 for certain trailers, while NHTSA’s standards will take effect as of 2021, with credits available for voluntary participation before then.

Cost-effective technologies for trailers – including aerodynamic devices, lightweight construction, and self-inflating tires – can significantly reduce fuel while payback in less than two years comes from the fuel saved. Recognizing that many trailer manufacturers are small businesses, the program includes provisions that reduce the burden such as a one-year delay in initial standards for small businesses and simplified certification requirements. www.nhtsa.gov, www.doe.gov

Kenworth wins $8.6M in grants for low-emissions drayage trucks in California

Kenworth has been awarded three government grants totaling $8.6 million that will support low emissions projects involving Kenworth T680 Day Cabs for use as drayage tractors in Southern California ports.

The first two projects are funded at $1.9 million each by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), with Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as the prime applicant. Kenworth will build two T680 Day Cab drayage tractors to transport freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses and rail yards along the I-710 corridor.

The first T680 Day Cab will be a hybrid electric producing near-zero-emissions using a compressed natural gas (CNG) engine to generate electrical power. The second T680 Day Cab will feature a hydrogen fuel cell offering zero-emissions operation. These trucks are expected to be identical, except for their power-generation systems and will have an all-electric range of 30 miles, and on-board CNG or hydrogen capacity of 100 diesel gallons equivalent.

The third project is funded at $4.8 million by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), again with the SCAQMD as the prime applicant. Kenworth will build four hybrid-electric T680 Day Cabs and support the customer field test of the units in Southern California drayage operations.

“Hybrid-electric powertrains are expected to be required within 7 to 10 years to meet emissions requirements in several major metropolitan areas of the U.S. Already, California is considering regulations requiring port drayage trucks to run at zero-emission levels when operating in economically disadvantaged communities,” says Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice president. www.kenworth.com

Harley-Davidson settles with EPA on off-road tuning product

Harley-Davidson Inc. reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the sale of its Pro Super Tuner aftermarket product used to calibrate motorcycles intended for off-road and closed-course competition. As part of the settlement agreement, the company will no longer sell its competition-only tuner in the U.S. The company will continue to sell a performance tuner designed to ensure Harley-Davidson motorcycles retain 50-state and EPA on-road emissions compliance.

The EPA alleged that by selling its tuner through its U.S. dealer network, Harley-Davidson enabled dealers and customers to tamper with motorcycles used on public roads. Harley-Davidson disagrees with the EPA’s position, noting that the tuner was designed and sold as an after-market, competition-only product used to adapt engine parameters for use with Harley-Davidson after- market equipment.

“This settlement is not an admission of liability but instead represents a good-faith compromise with the EPA on areas of law we interpret differently, particularly EPA’s assertion that it is illegal for anyone to modify a certified vehicle even if it will be used solely for off-road/closed-course competition,” says Ed Moreland, Harley-Davidson’s government affairs director. “For more than two decades, we have sold this product under an accepted regulatory approach that permitted the sale of competition-only parts. In our view, it is and was legal to use in race conditions in the U.S.” www.harley-davidson.com