EPA proposes new emissions regulations for heavy trucks

As expected, the EPA has released its proposed new rules to reduce emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. The new standards, which would take effect beginning with the 2027 model year, include the first proposed cuts to nitrogen oxide emissions for heavy-duty trucks since 2001.

The EPA proposes to require cuts in NOx emissions from heavy trucks that would result in a drop of 47% to 61% by 2045. The agency separately plans to set new greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles “as soon as 2030.”

The EPA said the new rules would improve air quality, leading to fewer premature deaths and fewer cases of asthma and other health issues. It estimates the program will cost manufacturers $19 billion to $31 billion through 2045, but will have net benefits of up to $220 billion.

“These new standards will drastically cut dangerous pollution by harnessing recent advancements in vehicle technologies from across the trucking industry,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said.

The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association said it would “work with EPA to ensure that the final version of today’s rule is practical, technically feasible, cost-effective, and will result in the necessary fleet turnover to achieve the nation’s environmental objectives.”

The group noted that engines made after 2010 emit roughly 30 times less NOx than those made before 2010, but that only about 50% of the fleet has turned over.

Environmental groups believe the proposed rules don’t do enough to encourage electrification. “Today’s EPA proposal and the administration’s planned actions and investments are an important start,” said Peter Zalzal, Senior Counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, “but they do not yet ensure levels of zero-emission vehicle deployment that are feasible and needed.”

“The proposed greenhouse gas rule does the bare minimum to acknowledge zero-emission trucks,” said Johanna Chao Kreilick, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and claimed that the EPA is being pressured by truck-makers to establish weaker emissions rules.

The EPA’s proposal is small beer compared to pending regulations in California, which will mandate a certain number of electric trucks starting in 2024. California is part of a coalition of 15 states and DC, which aim to require all new medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks sold in their jurisdictions to be electric by 2050.

Sources: EPA, Reuters, Automotive News, Green Car Reports