NOx reductions and fuel economy

Looks like NOx reduction may once again be the target of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agency is responding to petitions from state and local governmental agencies and other organizations that want to see further reductions in NOx in commercial vehicles.

NOx standards for trucks were last set 16 years ago and agencies such as the California Air Resources Board say there are new technologies available to reduce NOx emissions further.

The EPA says it sees the opportunity for “a new harmonized and comprehensive national NOx reduction strategy for heavy-duty on-highway engines.”

The agency expects to use a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will affect Model Year 2024 vehicles. “The model year 2014 standards would coincide with both the latest timing stated in the petitions and also an important model year for the implementation of the heavy-duty Phase 2 standards.”

Here’s where I see a problem. Generally decreasing NOx also decreases fuel efficiency. This will be a challenge as the industry strives to meet the GHG Phase 2 regulations while at the same time reducing NOx emissions.

But I think we can do it. I challenge the industry to get involved in the regulatory process directly by submitting comments to the regulators or by making sure those who are making comments have the most up to date and accurate information possible.

This is what we at NACFE can do. We do not comment directly on proposed regulatory changes but we are here along with our membership’s management to provide real-world information.

We encourage each of you to reach out to the EPA with your comments. But before you do and if you think we can help, please contact us ([email protected]) so we can arm you with the facts you need to make a compelling argument for sane and reasonable regulations that will result in both cleaner air and improved fuel economy. I don’t see any reason why we can’t have both.

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