Pittsford Resident Named to National Transportation Panel

RIT professor will help develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks

Seeking “greener” solutions to America’s transportation challenges is at the heart of work being undertaken by a researcher from Rochester Institute of Technology.

James Winebrake, professor of science, technology and public policy, has been appointed to The National Research Council’s committee on an assessment of fuel economy technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The committee will produce a report to inform federal regulators about the options for a fuel economy standard for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The standards are being investigated as a method to improve the energy and environmental performance of freight movement and to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign petroleum.

“Currently, there are federal regulations on light-duty vehicles in the form of corporate average fuel economy or CAFE standards,” says Winebrake. “These standards require that new cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. achieve a certain average miles per gallon.”

“However, there currently are no such regulations for medium- and heavy-duty trucks,” Winebrake continues. “This committee will look at the options available for improving fuel economy in America’s truck fleet and help inform potential regulations in this arena.”

Winebrake notes that the freight sector contributes about 25 percent of all transportation greenhouse gas emissions, or about 8 percent of the total emissions in the United States. Freight trucks are a major component of those emissions, with rail and domestic ships emitting less.

According to previous research conducted by Winebrake, freight trucks operating on U.S. roads and highways consume around 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, or about 18 percent of the total petroleum consumed in the transportation sector.

Winebrake, who chairs the Department of Science, Technology and Society/Public Policy and co-directs the Laboratory for Environmental Computing and Decision Making at RIT, conducts research on the energy and environmental impacts of transportation. He is currently a member of another National Research Council committee related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and is part of an International Maritime Organization expert group studying emissions regulations for global shipping.

The National Research Council was established in 1916 by the National Academies and provides expert advice in science, technology and health policy to Congress and the President.

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