An Energy Star Approach For Heavy Duty Trucks

EPA's SmartWay Program helps reduce transportation-related emissions and saves money.

For years, through voluntary partnerships and incentives that support clean diesel projects, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ( has worked with the trucking industry to accelerate the use of fuel-saving and emissions-reduction technologies. These programs, in tandem with environmental regulations, create a multi-faceted approach to accomplish the agency’s mission of protecting lives and the environment while encouraging clean, efficient transportation.

One such voluntary partnership, launched in 2004, is the EPA SmartWay Program. It is a market-driven partnership to improve fuel efficiency and sustainability in goods movement ( Since then, more than 3,000 SmartWay partners - including Fortune 500 shippers from every major business sector, top trucking firms, major logistics companies, multimodal carriers and rail companies - have eliminated 28 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, plus saved 65 million barrels of oil and $8.1 billion in fuel costs, say officials at the EPA’s Technology Assessment Center (TAC).

SmartWay is akin to the Energy Star Program established by the U.S. Department of Energy and the EPA in 1992. A voluntary program, it identifies and promotes energy-efficient products and buildings in order to reduce energy consumption, improve energy security and reduce pollution through voluntary labeling of or other forms of communication about products and buildings that meet the highest energy efficiency standards.

SmartWay freight providers use fuel-saving operational practices and EPA-verified technologies to cut fuel costs and emissions, explain TAC officials. Retailers, manufacturers and others use SmartWay performance metrics to identify and select carriers and modes, then incorporate this information into their carbon accounting and sustainability plans.

By providing businesses with consistent and integrated tools and approaches, SmartWay enables companies across the supply chain to exchange performance data in ways that protect the environment, enhance the nation’s energy security and foster economic vitality, they add. To encourage continued improvement, SmartWay provides incentives and recognition for top performers through EPA’s SmartWay Excellence Awards.

These honor top truck, intermodal and rail carrier partners that are setting efficiency benchmarks in how they move products and supplies. Top shipping and logistics partners also are recognized for efficiency and their actions to reduce freight emissions through effective collaboration, advanced technology and operational practices.


SmartWay is comprised of five components:

1. SmartWay Transport Partnership

A partnership in which freight carriers and shippers commit to benchmark operations, track fuel consumption and improve performance annually.

2. SmartWay Technology Program

It develops test protocols, reviews strategies and verifies the performance of vehicles, technologies and equipment that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases and other air pollutants from freight transport and establishes credible performance criteria.

The EPA evaluates the fuel-saving benefits of various devices through grants and has determined the following types of SmartWay Verified Technologies provide fuel saving and/or emission reducing benefits when used properly in their designed applications:

Idle Reduction Technologies

These allow vehicle operators to refrain from long-duration engine idling by using an alternative technology to provide heating, air conditioning and/or electricity to the vehicle that would otherwise require running the engine while the vehicle is parked. EPA-verified idle reduction technologies include:

  • Electrified parking spaces/truck stop electrification.
  • Shore connection systems.
  • Auxiliary power units and generator sets.
  • Fuel-operated heaters/direct-fired heaters.
  • Battery air conditioning systems.
  • Thermal storage systems.
  • Automatic shut-down/start-up systems.
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