Recently, the EPA finalized new greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for the manufacture, sale, or importation of heavy-duty trucks. The new standards are expected to increase production of trucks fueled by electricity and hydrogen. Subsequently, they aim to reduce GHG emissions up to 60 percent by 2032 for some classes of vehicle. Currently, heavy-duty vehicles account for roughly 25 percent of GHGs from the transportation sector.  The new rule applies only to manufacturers and does not mandate new vehicle sales, nor does it remove any vehicles currently on the road.

New Standards

The EPA states that the final standards are technology-neutral, allowing compliance through several different advanced technologies. These include advanced internal combustion engines, hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Some stakeholders believe the standards are technology-forcing, implementing electrification mandates while others have expressed concern with the lack of available infrastructure. Ultimately, the EPA projects the final standards will avoid 1 billion tons of GHGs and provide $13 billion in net benefits.

Clean Trucks Plan

These new standards are the final component of the EPA’s “Clean Trucks Plan.”  In 2021, the EPA set a comprehensive strategy to reduce pollution from large commercial heavy-duty trucks and buses. Additionally, this strategy would help to transition us to a zero-emission transportation future.  The already-finalized multipollutant standards for heavy trucks (“Low-NOx Rule”) was the first of the three steps of the Clean Trucks Plan. The other step was  the recently finalized multipollutant standards for light- and medium-duty passenger vehicles.

Low-NOx Rule

The Low-NOx Rule is one of the most stringent national clean air standards to cut pollutants that create ozone and particulate matter. The rule would touch on the pollutants from heavy-duty vehicles and engines starting in 2027. The requirements in the final Rule lower emissions of NOx and other air pollutants, including particulate matter, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and air toxics. The criteria pollutant provisions adopted apply for all heavy-duty engine (HDE) classes: spark-ignition HDE and compression-ignition Light, Medium, and Heavy HDEs. The new Phase 3 GHG standards will work in tandem with the prior finalized Low-NOx Rule, along with the multipollutant standards for passenger vehicles. These standards will together affect technological decisions that heavy-duty manufacturers will make for future model years.

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