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This week, the EPA and NHTSA announced the most ambitious fuel and environmental regulations that the trucking industry has ever seen.  (Click here for details.)  

Trucking industry regulations have historically focused on emissions, with the result being improved emissions at the expense of fuel economy.  According to the Department of Transportation Energy Data Book, large "combination" trucks averaged 5.1 MPG in 2007 -- worse than the fuel economy experienced 25 years earlier (5.2 MPG in 1982), and a full 1 MPG worse than in 1997 and 1998 (6.1 MPG).  

The obvious conclusion: in order to clean emissions, the industry has been burning more fuel.

This week's announcement is consequential for two reasons: 
  1. For the first time ever, regulations demand simultaneous improvements in fuel economy and emissions.  This will assure that we don't repeat history, and focus equally on reducing fuel consumption and emissions. 
  2. The level of improvement demanded by the new rules is very significant.  Large diesel trucks must improve fuel economy and emissions by 20% by 2018 (with phase-in beginning in 2014).  To put that into perspective, the trucking industry currently uses about 37 billion gallons of fuel annually -- a 20% improvement (the long-term effect of this regulation) would be a savings of 7.4 Billion gallons per year! 

This regulation should stimulate a whole new level of creativity on the part of the trucking industry.  While trucking industry experts have worked with EPA and NHTSA to shape this new regulation, and most publicly support it, there is not a clear path to compliance.  Typical fuel economy measures (improvements in aerodynamics, tires, engine modifications, anti-idling measures) show some promise, but even when putting all of them together, a 20% improvement is not obviously achievable.

We believe that the Marz Ranger Fuel Efficiency System will be an important part of the solution.  Early returns from our testing suggest that large gains in fuel economy are possible using diesel-enhanced combustion, and it does not require engine re-design to implement (which means it could be quickly adopted).  In the meantime, we will soon begin offering our PEM electrolyzer to existing fleets, so the trucking industry can begin saving fuel and reducing emissions....without having to spend on buying all-new equipment.