DOE funds to help manufacturers meet new truck standards - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Industrial, Regulation  -  August 23, 2016

DOE commits $137M to help manufacturers meet new fuel efficiency standards for big trucks

The U.S. Department of Energy is investing $137 million to help automotive manufacturers develop new technologies to meet the federal government's newest fuel standards for medium to heavy duty vehicles. 

The DOE announced the funding Aug. 16 as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, jointly adopted the second round of standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The DOE's investments will support two programs, subject to appropriations, to develop next generation technologies that will help the industry in going beyond those standards while also accelerating technology advances for passenger cars and light trucks, the department said in a statement. 

One initiative, SuperTruck II, will fund four projects to develop and demonstrate cost-effective technologies that more than double the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks, commonly known as 18-wheelers. Through another initiative, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement selections, 35 new projects will receive $57 million to develop and deploy a wide array of vehicle technologies, including advanced batteries and electric drive systems, to reduce carbon emissions and petroleum consumption in passenger cars and light trucks.

The EPA and NHTSA's  jointly finalized standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are intended to improve fuel efficiency and cut carbon pollution while bolstering energy security and spurring manufacturing innovation, the agencies said Aug. 16. The final phase two standards were called for by President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan and respond to the President’s directive in early 2014 to develop new standards that run into the next decade.

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

The final standards are expected to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1.1 billion metric tons, save vehicle owners fuel costs of about $170 billion, and reduce oil consumption by up to two billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the program, the EPA and NHTSA said. Overall, according to the announcement, the program is expected to provide $230 billion in net benefits to society, including benefits to climate and public health  that outweigh costs by about an 8-to-1 ratio.

The agencies also said the final standards will cost effective for consumers and businesses, "delivering favorable payback periods for truck owners." The buyer of a new long-haul truck in 2027, for example, would recoup the investment in fuel-efficient technology in less than two years through fuel savings, the EPA and NHTSA said. 

"The actions we take today on climate change will help lessen the impacts on future generations,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in announcing the new standards. "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.”

Keywords: doe, epa

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