Vehicle Standards

A wide variety of technologies exists or is emerging which can reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions from road vehicles. These include variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, gasoline direct injection, turbo charging and engine downsizing and increased dieselization. The State of California has mandated greenhouse gas emissions standards [19]. At a U.S. national level, mandatory Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements have been in place since the mid 1970s but there had been no significant tightening in over 20 years until Congress mandated further control in 2007; these requirements will result in lower carbon dioxide emissions but do not address the other greenhouse emissions.

In the last three years, American regulators have taken significant steps to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Massachusetts v. EPA), in a 5-4 decision, that GHG emissions are air pollutants potentially subject to federal regulation under the Clean Air Act. In response, the Bush Administration signed an executive order directing the U.S. EPA, in collaboration with the Departments of Transportation and Energy, to develop regulations that could reduce projected oil use by 20 percent within a decade. The Administration suggested that the "Twenty in Ten" goal be achieved by: (1) increasing the use renewable and alternative fuels, which will displace 15 percent of projected annual gasoline use; and (2) by further tightening the CAFE standards for cars and light trucks, which will bring about a further 5 percent reduction in projected gasoline use. The federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 raised the U.S. fuel economy standard for passenger vehicles and light trucks to 35 mpg by the year 2020.

On May 19, 2009, President Barack Obama announced a policy that called for a standard of 35.5 mpg by 2016, essentially requiring light-duty vehicles nationally to meet the same requirements as California. President Obama called for a joint rulemaking by EPA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, which was issued in September 2009.

In a May 21, 2010 memorandum, President Obama directed EPA and DOT to issue a Notice of Intent (NOI) that would lay out a coordinated plan, to propose regulations to extend the national program and to coordinate with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in developing a technical assessment to inform the NOI and subsequent rulemaking process. NHTSA and EPA, recently announced they will begin the process of developing tougher greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for passenger cars and trucks built in model years 2017 through 2025, building on the first phase of the national program covering cars from model years 2012-2016. Continuing the national program will help make it possible for manufacturers to build a single national fleet of cars and light trucks that satisfies all federal and California standards.

The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have also announced the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. They are proposing new standards for three categories of heavy trucks: combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vans, and vocational vehicles. The categories were established to address specific challenges for manufacturers in each area. For combination tractors, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards that begin in the 2014 model year and achieve up to a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption by 2018 model year. For heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, the agencies are proposing separate gasoline and diesel truck standards, which phase in starting in the 2014 model year and achieve up to a 10 percent reduction for gasoline vehicles and 15 percent reduction for diesel vehicles by 2018 model year (12 and 17 percent respectively if accounting for air conditioning leakage). Lastly, for vocational vehicles, the agencies are proposing engine and vehicle standards starting in the 2014 model year which would achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 2018 model year.

The European Union on the other hand negotiated a voluntary agreement with the European vehicle industry to achieve carbon dioxide targets.12 This agreement broke down in early 2007 as it became clear that the target of 140 g/km by 2008 will not be met. As a result, the EU will impose a mandatory limit of 130 g/km to be phased in between 2012 and 2015 and will likely further tighten limits to 95 g/km in approximately 2020.

Japan's approach has also focused on fuel consumption using the best in class at a point in time to stimulate industry wide progress. A summary of planned or adopted vehicle requirements is shown in Fig. 6.8 [17].

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