The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will propose a significant upgrade to its successful SmartWay program. The goal is to establish far more detailed metrics for fuel savings and emissions reductions, including for other modes, as well as expanding the program to cover more transportation operations around the world. SmartWay was created by EPA as a public-private partnership whose key goal is promote ways to reduce transportation-related emissions.
At the National Private Truck Council’s (NPTC) annual meeting this week in Cincinnati, Matthew Payne, team leader of the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership Program, outlined several key upgrades and expansions the agency wants to make to the six-year old effort. In particular, EPA would like to begin including other freight transport modes such as air, rail, barge, and ocean container ships.
Payne said EPA’s proposals – dubbed “SmartWay 2.0” for now – are also focused on extracting more detailed metrics for participating motor carriers to more exactly quantify the fuel savings and emission reductions generated by the programs.
That means trading in the more generalized Shipper Index Factor (SIF) scores SmartWay currently uses in favor of far more specific grams-per-mile, grams-per-hour, grams-per-ton, and grams-per-package measurements, he explained.
“This would do several things: help fleets and other modes establish more detailed fuel savings data; establish more comprehensive mode-wide benchmarks so carriers can compare their data to industry-wide metrics; and create more exact carbon footprints for shippers, down to the individual package level,” said Payne.
As part of this upgrade, he noted that EPA will also work to expand SmartWay worldwide so supply chains in other nations can be brought under the program’s umbrella. Discussions regarding this are already under way with countries such as Australia, New Zealand, China and member nations of the European Union.
“We recognize that many shippers are multi-national corporations and need global calculations for their [freight] carbon footprints; not just for the U.S.,” Payne stressed. “So we see expanding SmartWay internationally as critical to [the program’s] success.”
He added that EPA also continues to work on expanding the trucking portion of SmartWay. Right now, only Class 8 tractors pulling 53-ftt trailers are considered eligible to become SmartWay-certified vehicles, but EPA would like to include Class 7 and medium-duty models as well.
“There’s no time frame set for including those models right now,” Payne said. “Fuel savings are fairly easy to establish with light-duty vehicles. But it’s not that simple in medium- and heavy-duty classes – there are just so many more variables that affect fuel economy. Hopefully, by the end of this year, we’ll be able to include all heavy-duty vehicles models in the program, with medium-duty added sometime next year.”