EPA Adopts Strict New Truck Emission Standards

Borrowing a page from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adopted tough new pollution standards on trucks. Beginning with model year 2027 and extending through 2032, new greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets are set for all types of new medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles.

At the same time, a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday upheld EPA’s decision to grant California a waiver to set its own tailpipe emissions limits and electric-vehicle requirements. We foresee EPA granting the waiver California has been waiting for.

While you may have no intention of purchasing a new truck or trucks, stricter pollution standards on new trucks can also have an impact on the used truck market. Why? Because many truck operators not only won’t want the new trucks until they are proven in revenue operation, but also won’t have the capital to buy trucks that could cost as much as 20% more. This drives buyers to purchase used trucks, which nearly always results in higher prices for used trucks.

The EPA final rule, running over 1,100 pages, bends over backwards at every turn to emphasize that the regulations "do not mandate the use of a specific technology.” As with the CARB Advanced Clean Fleet rule, however, the EPA emission projections for the final years depend heavily on the use of battery-operated electric trucks as the desired zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Battery-operated trucks are heavier, resulting in a loss of payload, and also wear out truck tires much faster.

All segments of the trucking industry oppose the EPA rule, saying it is technologically premature and oblivious to the realities of freight transportation. EPA has responded that it would monitor implementation of the regulations in the coming years to determine if any adjustments are needed.

The immediate impact of the EPA rule could be at the state level. The EPA final rule says, “this action relates to companies that manufacture, sell, or import into the United States new heavy-duty highway vehicles and engines.” In other words, the EPA rule directly affects what new trucks and engines may be available in the marketplace, not used trucks or what motor carriers do with their existing equipment. However, all trucks must be registered at the state level, and it is the states which enforce truck emission standards.

And states may take different approaches. As ICSA has alerted members, the CARB Advanced Clean Fleet (ACF) rule is currently on hold pending a waiver from the EPA. With EPA adopting this new national emissions rule, we expect EPA to cite its own rule and formalize the waiver in the coming months. CARB will then proceed with its ACF program.

In addition to California, Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) regulations are the law in Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. ACT rulemaking has been initiated in Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, and North Carolina. Other jurisdictions – Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and the District of Columbia – have pledged a zero-emission Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to achieve 100% electric trucks by 2050, with an interim goal of 30% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030. Each of these jurisdictions may choose to see how the new EPA rule and the CARB ACF program roll out before taking additional action.

U.S. Senators Seek to Overturn EPA Truck Emissions Rule

08 May 2024

The trucking industry has universally opposed the EPA Phase 3 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) regulations because the technology is not ready for prime time and the rule is oblivious to the realities of freight transportation.