New Regulations to Reduce Pollution and Improve Fuel Efficiency-Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards Get Finalized for Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

The trucking industry happens to be one of the largest producers of greenhouse gases, and one of the largest consumers of oil. In protecting the environment, the government will apply efficiency standards that have the dual effect of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the use of oil. Recently, new Phase 2 standards were released for medium and heavy-duty vehicles. Let’s take a look at what this means for the trucking industry.


The Environmental Protection Agency has been working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop new standards that are designed to protect the environment and conserve fuel. A few years ago, the first round of standards were released with phase 1. In this initial phase, the primary intention was to get the trucks that were on the road, and new trucks, to use the best technology available for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

With Phase 2, you have a more long-term strategy that is designed to roll out over several years. This new round of standards will promote new technologies and technologies that are currently under development to create a new generation of trucks that run cleaner. The phase 2 standard will start with trucks that are made in the model year 2021, and continue to update with the complete standards going into effect for trucks of the model year 2027.

Goals of the Phase 2 Standards

The goals of these standards are two-fold. First, the government wants to reduce the impact of the trucking industry on the environment. Secondly, the goal is to conserve fuel supplies and bolster attempts by the government to improve energy security. As an additional point, the program also hopes to encourage innovation and the advancement of technology in the manufacturing of these vehicles.

How They Plan to Achieve Them

In the formation of these new standards, the EPA and the NHTSA have reviewed the emerging technologies, followed the information about the types of technologies that are under development and considered industry information. This has helped them to develop standards that offer clear improvements, while also being highly achievable.

In reaching the goals of this new program, there will be stronger compliance provisions. This will include more accurate and repeatable testing procedures, work to combat defeat devices and improved auditing procedures.

The new standards will also roll out over time to make the transition easier for the businesses in the industry. Additionally, the standards are designed to be flexible; allowing businesses the ability to choose their own technologies and providing the lead-time that will be necessary to develop and test the technologies that will be used.


In an effort to make these new standards easier to comply with, they have been designed to offer a cost savings in fuel that will help to offset the expense that goes into meeting the new standards. At every step of the program, the cost of compliance will also come with a comparable offset in savings. It is estimated that the purchaser of a new 2027 long-haul truck will be able to recover the cost of the upgrades in less than two years. As a whole, the new vehicles that are sold under the program are expected to provide an overall benefit of $230 billion.

4 Regulatory Categories of Medium to Heavy Duty Trucks

Combination Tractors

The combination tractors of classes 7 & 8 play an important role in the transportation industry. Standards for these vehicles will vary depending on factors like class, weight, cab type and roof height. The first stage will start in 2021, with more standards coming into effect in 2024, and the final roll out happening in 2027.

Trailers Pulled by Combination Tractors

With the trailers playing an important role in the overall efficiency of the vehicle, new standards will also come on line for these components. The first round of standards will start in 2018, but they will not be mandatory until 2021. Increased standards will come for trailers produced in 2021, with more standards in 2024, and the complete program coming into effect in 2027.

Vocational Vehicles

The vocational vehicles cover a wide range of different vehicles. The standards for this vehicle type will vary depending on factors like weight, chassis and driving cycle. The first round of new standards will start with the model year 2021 and then stricter standards will be implemented in 2024, and the full standards will be in effect for model year 2027.

Heavy Duty Pickup Trucks and Vans

For these vehicles, the Phase 2 standards will not vary significantly from the standards that were established in Phase 1. Vehicles will be categorized and standards for fuel efficiency and emissions will vary depending on vehicle characteristics. The new standards will become more strict every year starting with model year 2021 and ending with the 2027 model year.

These new standards are going to have a major impact on vehicle manufacturing, and it is going to cause significant changes in the trucking industry. The incremental roll out will make the new standards easier to achieve, and they offer a level of flexibility that will allow for a number of options for meeting them. Hopefully, the overall effect on the industry is positive and it does work to save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as it aims to.