An Energy Star Approach For Heavy Duty Trucks

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

Certain idle reduction technologies may be eligible for Diesel Emission Reduction Act Grants and the Federal Excise Tax Exemption. For information, visit

Verified Aerodynamic Technologies

These minimize drag and improve air flow over the entire tractor trailer. Aerodynamic technologies designed for use on a standard 53’ van (box) trailer in long-haul operations include:

  • Gap fairings that reduce turbulence between the tractor and trailer.
  • Side skirts that minimize wind under the trailer.
  • Rear fairings that reduce turbulence and pressure drop at the rear of the trailer.

Combining aerodynamic devices that achieve at least 5 percent fuel savings with EPA-verified low rolling resistance tires qualifies a 53’ van trailer for SmartWay designation when used in conjunction with an aerodynamic Class 8 tractor for long-haul operation, say TAC officials.

Low Rolling Resistance Tires and RetreadS

The EPA has determined that certain tire models, as well as certain retread technologies, can reduce NOx emissions and fuel use by more than 3 percent, relative to the best-selling new tires and retread technologies, respectively, for line-haul Class 8 tractor trailers. While a fleet’s in-use results vary, recent EPA testing indicates that EPA-verified low rolling resistance tires and retreads may obtain even greater fuel economy benefits under constant highway-speed cruise operations.

The conditions under which fuel-saving improvements can be had, along with a list of SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires and retreads, can be found at

Retrofit Technologies

A list of retrofit technologies verified by EPA, such as diesel oxidation catalysts and diesel particulate filters, is available at

Manufacturers seeking aerodynamic device verification must conduct track testing using the joint fuel consumption test protocol developed by the Technology & Maintenance Council and the Society of Automotive Engineers as modified by EPA. As with tire verification, the testing is conducted by the manufacturer at their expense, note TAC officials.

By design, the process typically results in EPA and the manufacturer working cooperatively to minimize the manufacturer’s burden while meeting the verification program requirements, they add.

EPA-verified tires, aerodynamics and idle reduction systems can be used to meet the agency’s performance requirements to earn designation as a SmartWay Tractor or a SmartWay Trailer. This is a mark that identifies the top fuel-saving performers for fleets.

Among the manufacturers that offer an EPA-designated SmartWay Tractor are Daimler Trucks, Kenworth, Mack, Navistar, Peterbilt and Volvo Trucks. EPA-designated SmartWay Trailers can be ordered from Great Dane, Hyundai Translead, Manac, Stoughton, Strick, Utility, Vanguard, Wabash and Wilson.

3. SmartWay Vehicles

This program ranks light duty cars and small trucks and identifies superior environmental performers with the SmartWay logo.

4. SmartWay Finance Program

A competitive grant program that makes investing in fuel-saving equipment easier for freight carriers.

5. SmartWay IntereST INTERnationalLY

Guidance and resources for countries seeking to develop freight sustainability programs modeled after SmartWay.


The EPA created its TAC because of numerous inquiries from fleets, equipment manufacturers and others in the trucking industry interested in innovative technologies and strategies to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions, say TAC officials. The organization integrates expertise from SmartWay and National Clean Diesel technology programs (, provides a comprehensive approach to reducing emissions from heavy duty fleets and overseas research, test and evaluation of emission and fuel-saving technologies and strategies.

The TAC verifies technologies by reviewing manufacturer information and test results, developing industry-leading test protocols and conducting research to address technology barriers, they say. It also tests currently available and advanced technologies to evaluate their new and in-use performance.

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