November 10, 2020. On November 9, NGVAmerica submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in response to a request for information (RFI) concerning future research and development (R&D) needs and opportunities for medium- and heavy-duty freight trucks. The RFI sought information related to investments in safe, efficient, affordable solutions that reduce energy use, emissions and total cost of ownership (purchase, fuel, maintenance and operational cost) for freight trucks. DOE’s RFI indicated that its current advanced engine and fuels priorities include developing the next generation of heavy-duty engines capable of increasing efficiency by 35% in 2025 (versus a 2009 baseline of 42%). The RFI specifically called attention to the DOE’s goal of reducing the cost of natural gas medium and heavy-duty trucks, as well as reducing gaseous fuel storage cost.

NGVAmerica commended DOE for seeking stakeholder comments on these important issues. We supported many of the priorities identified by DOE such as increasing efficiency, lowering costs, and reducing emissions. NGVAmerica of course supported DOE’s continued focus on natural gas engine technology and also encouraged DOE to evaluate how greater use of RNG and advanced vehicle powertrains could provide even more benefit. On the policy front, we encouraged DOE to evaluate how different fuel technologies can play a role in driving down emissions and costs while taking a new look at the metrics used for evaluating the real-world benefits of different technologies. We also urged the DOE to consider how the certification of engines and vehicles can evolve to better consider the actual benefits of vehicle powertrains and fuel-use in order to provide meaningful incentives for manufacturers – noting that the current certification procedures do not benefit biofuels.

The DOE has indicated that it plans to hold a workshop in December to provide details and key findings resulting from this RFI.