March 13, 2012


Heavy-Duty Vehicle CO2 Emission Reduction Measures -- Tokyo Metropolitan Government Creates New Indicators Based on Fuel Efficiency

Keywords: Newsletter 

JFS Newsletter No.114 (February 2012)
"Initiatives and Achievements of Local Governments in Japan" (No. 37)

The March 2011 issue of the Japan for Sustainability Newsletter carried an article about the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's (TMG's) diesel emissions regulations. In this month's article, we will introduce some of its new measures for reducing CO2 emissions from automobiles.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Efforts to Control Diesel Vehicle Emissions

About one quarter of CO2 emissions released in Tokyo are from cars, trucks and other vehicles. The TMG has been tackling this issue, for example by promoting the use of the next generation automobiles and eco-driving techniques that can reduce CO2 emissions.

One of the challenges for reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles has been how to deal with vehicles such as long-distance trucks carrying large loads. To address this challenge, the TMG started a new experimental vehicle CO2 emission reduction scheme for Tokyo in collaboration with transport operators, cargo owners, and citizens.

Up until now, it seemed difficult to evaluate heavy-duty vehicles' fuel consumption because of the great variety of heavy-duty vehicle types that carry a diversity of cargo shapes and weights, while the vehicles themselves also vary in terms of usage, weight, shape and type. In the new scheme, the TMG proposes to evaluate individual vehicles according to their individual, actual driving fuel efficiency (kilometer per liter).

In order to set fuel efficiency benchmarks, a system had to be devised to compare vehicles under the same conditions after identifying and classifying them according to their features. These benchmarks had to be a type of indicator that cargo transporters could easily understand and use to report on their efforts. Such efforts should also be comprehensible to users such as cargo owners.

The TMG, in collaboration with the Tokyo Trucking Association, collected data for 350,000 vehicles on actual driving fuel efficiency per month based on individual driving distance and refueling amount. These data were supplied by cargo transporters that joined a "Green Eco Project" promoted by the Association. The TMG used these data to study the various factors that might affect fuel efficiency, such as vehicle types, fuel types, efficiency standards, vehicles' total weight, monthly driving distance and months during which the data was collected. (Only in Japanese)

After two years' worth of statistical analysis starting in FY2010, they found that three factors-- vehicle type, fuel type and total vehicle weight had the most effect on fuel efficiency. They sorted the vehicles into 39 groups according to these three factors.

Nine types of trucks fueled by diesel were identified: vans and armored cars, cab-over (cab-over engine) trucks, refrigerator or freezer trucks, garbage trucks, container trucks and arm roll trucks, dump trucks and other trucks carrying powdered or granular material, tank lorries or asphalt trucks, concrete mixer vehicles, and trailers. The vehicles were further classified into seven weight categories: small 1 (under 3.5 tons), small 2 (small freight vehicles from 3.5 tons to 7.5 tons), medium 1 (ordinary freight vehicles under 7.5 tons), medium 2 (from 7.5 tons to 8.0 tons or less), large 1 (under 16 tons), large 2 (from 16 tons to 20 tons), and trailers (20 tons or more).

Thus, vehicles were classified into 39 groups by consolidating and eliminating groups that were statistically identical and had similar appearance and purpose. Note: The weights above are vehicle weight. Some vehicle types have only one weight category, therefore the total number of groups was not simply calculated as 9 x 7.

Thus, the first time in the world, the TMG created benchmarks on the basis of this data that can be used to quantitatively evaluate the effect of CO2 emissions reduction efforts through eco-driving and so on.

Since fuel efficiency can be ascertained without installing a special device in the vehicle or recording the weight of cargo loaded or unloaded at freight handling areas, the burden of data collection on carriers is relatively light. Fuel efficiency is also an indicator that is recorded and stored, either mandatorily or voluntarily, by companies permitted to conduct carrier business. This was another reason why the TMG decided to promote indicators using fuel efficiency.

The amount of CO2 vehicles emit depends largely on the transport method. For private freight vehicles mainly used by private businesses that tend to carry small volumes of freight per trip, CO2 emissions per ton/kilometer are seven times higher than emissions from business freight vehicles that efficiently and collectively carry freight (calculated by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism).

Business freight vehicles that are already operating efficiently, notably those belonging to the businesses participating in the Green Eco Project that comprised the subject of this analysis, have already been working to achieve very efficient transportation. If top-ranked freight businesses receive some kind of recommendation, there are concerns that oppressive competition may be triggered.

The TMG therefore defines the benchmarks not as an established ranking, but as indicators to classify fuel efficiency levels. The TMG also plans to ask shippers to refer to these classifications (such as "Class A and upwards," "Class B and upwards," and "Class C and upwards") when ordering distribution services so that they can choose suitable distributors from their own particular point of view.

Actual classification evaluations are undertaken by cargo distributors, which are required to submit to the TMG data of travel distances and fueling amounts for each vehicle they own. These data will be used to classify cargo distributors after summarizing the evaluations of each vehicle belonging to the 39 groups.

In the future, the TMG will publish the names of distributors that have been evaluated and divided into these classes as a way of recommending them to the citizens of Tokyo and other shippers. By doing so, the TMG hopes that distributors who have been making voluntary efforts to implement environmentally friendly initiatives such as eco-driving, despite the absence of incentives or obligations for such efforts, can without delay receive the acclaim and support of society.

The TMG also plans to consider including cargo distributors which use private freight vehicles in their business in the benchmark program, providing that they can report data accurate enough for a benchmark evaluation. As mentioned above, however, the TMG has been recommending a shift from private freight vehicle use to business vehicle use wherever possible in order to promote transportation efficiency.

In its consideration of this new system that utilizes evaluations based on indicators of fuel efficiency, the TMG has been working with the Green Purchasing Network, whose members include major corporations and local governments across the country.

Regarding a voluntary evaluation system according to cargo distributors' application, the TMG is planning to implement it on a trial basis in FY2012 (publication is not determined yet), implement fully in FY2013.

As part of the leading green purchasing activity, the TMG is planning to actively promote the use of cargo distributors which received high evaluation by this new system. It aims to give incentive to business operators that make efforts including eco-driving, further encourage such efforts, and drastically reduce CO2 emissions from long-distance transport vehicles, one of the major CO2 emitters.

Written by Nobuko Saigusa