Freight trucks are responsible for almost 20% of all transportation-related fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Our current freight system ensures that economic growth will be accompanied by an increase in truck miles. Consequently, increased efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles and of the nation’s freight network is vital to achieving a sustainable goods movement system.
In 2011, the United States adopted fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to reduce the nation’s oil consumption, emissions, and freight costs. The 2011 rule becomes effective in 2014 for GHG regulations while fuel efficiency standards kick in in 2016. Manufacturers may voluntarily certify trucks to fuel economy standards as early as 2014. The rule requires a reduction of 7-22% in 2014-2016 and by 10-24% in 2017, compared to 2010 levels. The specific improvement in fuel economy depends on truck specification. EPA and NHTSA estimate that the combined standards will reduce CO2 emissions by about 270 million metric tons and save about 530 million barrels of oil over the life of model year 2014 to 2018 vehicles.
ACEEE advances freight movement efficiency by investigating technologies that reduce fuel consumption of trucks and opportunities to enhance the energy efficiency of the freight network as a whole. ACEEE supports the expansion of multimodal freight systems that permit goods to travel by the most efficient mode or combination of modes, minimizing fuel use, greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions, and highway congestion.