Phase 2 of fuel efficiency and emissions standards for trucks are central themes at NAFA and ACT Expo conferences

Trucking efficiencyPhase 2 of national standards for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks will be central themes at upcoming industry conferences NAFA 2015 Institute and Expo and ACT Expo. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in collaboration with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), are in the planning stages of extending its standards beyond model year 2018. The objectives are to further reduce fuel consumption through the application of advanced cost-effective technologies and continue efforts to improve the efficiency of moving goods across the US. EPA has announced that proposed Phase 2 regulations that were originally planned for publication last month will delayed until June. The new rules are expected to not take effect until 2020.


At NAFA Fleet Management Association’s 2015 Institute and Expo in Orlando, Fla., James Tamm, a top NHTSA official who has been heavily involved in the drafting of proposed regulations rulemaking regarding Phase 2 fuel efficiency and greenhouse-gas emissions, will speak to these issues at a session on Thursday morning, April 16. Tamm’s NHTSA division is also responsible for reviewing and approving manufacturer petitions for alternative CAFE standards. Tamm will make this presentation with Patrick O’Connor, president of the firm Kent & O’Connor, NAFA’s legislative counsel in Washington, DC. Tamm will provide attendees with an overview of the objectives for the Phase 2 standards and urge fleet managers to participate in the rulemaking process.


The 2015 ACT Expo, which takes place May 4-7 in Dallas, is presenting a greater emphasis this year on goods movement efficiency. Trucking Efficiency, a joint effort of The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) and Carbon War Room (CWR), has an expanded partnership with the 2015 ACT Expo to provide greater emphasis on trucking efficiency at North America’s largest clean fleet event. Trucking Efficiency is an industry collaboration that aims to double the freight efficiency of North American goods movement.


The four-day ACT Expo event will also feature a dedicated “Trucking Efficiency Showcase” in the expo hall to display heavy-duty efficiency technologies. Speaker workshops include a trucking efficiency track to explore these technologies and discuss the benefits and challenges of their adoption. Speakers will be discussing the role of alternative fuels in work trucks and heavy-duty trucking, aerodynamic improvement systems, idle-reduction strategies, 6×2 axles, tire pressure monitoring systems, and driver training programs among other measures – that will enable fleets to improve productivity, save fuel, and meet emissions standards.


Phase 2 was a topic of discussion at the CALSTART annual meeting and Blue Sky Award ceremony in Los Angeles in December. Keynote speaker Christopher Grundler, director, office of transportation and air quality at the EPA, sees this as a top issue for the clean transportation community to follow.


Advanced vehicle technologies will play a key role in meeting federal standards, as will adoption of next-generation alternative fuels and electrified trucks. Clean diesel and new diesel powertrains were key elements behind the Clean Truck Programs adopted by major ports, but there is concern about what it will take to further reduce emissions – and that it may take a while. Volvo Trucks has been working with Oberon Fuels to roll out trucks powered by the very clean dimethyl ether (DME). However, that will take longer than expected. Last fall, Volvo Trucks announced that it would no longer project a date for commercial availability, citing a slowdown in the pace of the North American alternative fuel market. The truck maker will continue field testing DME-powered vehicle, but it will be closely monitoring “market and stakeholder interest in the fuel.”

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