US trucks CO2 standards return hauliers’ investment three times over

US trucks CO2 standards have delivered American hauliers more than three times the return on their investment in just one year. A new analysis by T&E shows that before the application of standards, the price of new trucks was rising but fuel consumption didn’t improve. Since the standards came in, buyers have been paying around $400 (€321) more per new truck but in return they get an average of $1,400 of additional fuel savings every year.

The analysis finds that, thanks to the standards, the deployment of fuel saving technologies reduced truck fuel consumption by 24% in the period between 2011 to 2017. A new truck bought in 2017 consumes $8,200 less in fuel than a new truck in 2011. The analysis focuses on class 8 high-roof sleeper trucks, similar to 40-tonne trucks in Europe.

T&E research assistant, Petar Georgiev, said: ‘Comparing benefits and costs, fuel efficiency standards deliver a return of 3.5-to-1. Put simply, US truck standards have stacked up.’

The findings came as EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete confirmed that the proposal for the Europe’s first ever truck CO2 standard will be published on 2 May. Last month MEPs said truckmakers must disclose data about their vehicles’ fuel efficiency – including aerodynamic performance, engine, axle and transmission efficiency, and rolling resistance – under a draft law in preparation for the CO2 standard.

The European Parliament environment committee also said the EU’s draft law on monitoring and reporting truck fuel efficiency should require that ‘conformity of production’ testing – to check the ability to produce a series of products to specification – be reported, specifically where it impacts CO2. These results should also be made public or accessible to third parties.

The Commission’s draft law is currently being discussed by EU governments, and the Parliament environment committee’s rapporteur has been given a mandate to negotiate with Council in trilogues. MEPs also called for the Commission to propose Europe’s first ever truck CO2 standards for 2025 standards before 30 April this year.

T&E said the MEPs’ vote would allow hauliers to make informed purchasing decisions and drive fuel efficiency gains. Cleaner trucks officer, Stef Cornelis, said: ‘We welcome that MEPs have chosen to boost innovation rather than withhold efficiency data just because some truckmakers are afraid of competition. Governments and MEPs now have to strike a deal that will lead to more transparency and competitiveness in the EU trucking sector – including making exact air drag values public. This will benefit transport operators and boost the fight against climate change.’

Hauliers spend on average €32,000 a year per truck on fuel. Meanwhile, fuel consumption hasn’t improved over the last 20 years: a truck from 2015 still consumes roughly the same amount of fuel as a 1995 truck. Trucks represent less than 5% of all vehicles on the road in Europe but are responsible for around a quarter of road transport’s greenhouse gas emissions.