E&MU: SmartWay Program May Help EPA Shape Greenhouse-Gas Rules
By Mindy Long, Contributing Writer
This story appears in the July/August 2012 issue of Equipment & Maintenance Update, a supplement to the July 9 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
As federal regulators ready mandates to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions and improve heavy-duty trucks’ fuel mileage, Environmental Protection Agency and trucking company officials said that research gleaned from EPA’s 8-year-old SmartWay program can help shape those rules.
The new regulations, being developed by EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, set different targets for various truck sizes and applications, with voluntary targets beginning in 2014 and mandatory fuel-use cuts of 20% by 2017. The agencies have said they also will mandate trailer efficiencies in future rules.
“Going forward, SmartWay will continue to serve as an important program for new and emerging technologies and strategies,” an EPA spokeswoman told Equipment & Maintenance Update.
Some motor carriers, however, worry that the forthcoming mandates could mean SmartWay’s role will diminish.
“That kind of mandating of OEMs [through the new regulations] takes a lot away from SmartWay,” said Randy Mullett, vice president of government relations and public affairs for Con-way Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich. “Once fuel economy and trailer manufacturing standards take effect, that becomes the new price of entry. I think SmartWay can help differentiate between those [carriers] that have gone above and beyond because the equipment is a small portion of sustainability.”
Launched with great fanfare in 2004, the SmartWay Transport Partnership has attracted 2,900 industry partners. To participate, carriers submit company and operational data, such as fleet type, class and age, fuel use, idle times, number of miles traveled and payload, to the EPA. They are then ranked into five performance areas, and the top-performing carriers earn the right to use the SmartWay partnership mark that denotes superior performance across their operations. EPA also has a SmartWay logo for use on vehicle models that exceed emissions and fuel use criteria.
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