Frequent Questions

How does MOVES classify light-duty trucks?

There are two definitions used in MOVES for light-duty trucks. The source use type light-duty trucks (sourceTypeID values of 31 or 32) use the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) VM-1 definition of light-duty vehicles used to report vehicle activity: light-duty vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds, except trucks with two or more axles or with six or more tires. Light-duty vehicles are further divided between vehicles classified by federal emission control regulations as either passenger cars or trucks.

MOVES also classifies light-duty trucks by their federal emission control regulations (regulatory class), which specifies that trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) less than 8,500 pounds are light-duty, regardless of their FHWA classification. Trucks greater than 8,500 pounds are considered heavy-duty. There are multiple heavy-duty sub-classes, depending on their GVWR and other factors.

The classifications used in MOVES are described our the technical report, “Population and Activity of On-road Vehicles in MOVES2014” (EPA-420-R-16-003a), which can be found on the EPA web site:

It is difficult to determine whether a vehicle is a passenger car, light-duty truck or heavy-duty truck just based on the make/model description.

Most SUVs and minivans are considered light-duty trucks. Since vehicle manufacturers, and not EPA, determine the GVWR for vehicles and their other characteristics that determine the car/truck classification, EPA has not compiled a list of make/models by model year that classify vehicles. EPA uses contractors to compile EPA certification records, decode vehicle identification number (VIN) and contact manufacturers to identify the appropriate classification for individual vehicles. EPA relies on national sales data provided by manufacturers to develop nationwide fleet mixes.

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