Green America Supports Strong Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Submitted by abadalov on

Medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) trucks are part of the backbone of our economy. Yet, the majority of these vehicles are polluting and expensive to run and maintain. Fossil fuel engines emit concentrated amounts of dangerous pollutants harming human health and the environment. Much of that pollution is disproportionately affecting disenfranchised communities, including low-income residents and people of color who often live near ports, busy highways, and truck depots. And of course these trucks are exacerbating climate change.  

Research shows that zero-emission, electric heavy-duty trucks and buses are cheaper to own and operate over the lifetime of the vehicle compared to a polluting version, saving fleets money. U.S. fleets operating zero-emission trucks today are already seeing these benefits, and zero-emission truck and bus manufacturers are continually improving their vehicles’ range, capabilities, and reliability. In addition, drivers love them — they’re quieter, smoother, more stable and faster when quick bursts of speeds are needed. 

Help is on the way to tackle the pollution generated by trucks and buses. Soon the EPA is expected to finalize the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase 3 standard. The Biden Administration could take another vital step to reduce climate pollution from our country’s trucks, buses, and other heavy-duty vehicles.  

The proposed standards will apply to heavy-duty truck vehicles for upcoming model years 2028-2032. Phase 1 and 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for trucks were implemented in 2014 and 2017, respectively. Those standards reduced greenhouse gas emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 11% and 14%, respectively, below 2010 levels by 2021. The new Phase 3 standards will, by 2032, likely reduce GHG emissions from heavy-duty vehicles significantly more than that (though possibly not enough to truly protect health and the climate). The proposed standards will apply to a wide range of heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks, buses, and trailers. They will be phased in over time and will likely get stronger in the later years. 

A strong rule on the heavy-duty transportation industry could ensure that the United States continues to make strong progress in cutting pollution from our most polluting sector. This new standard will also lead to greater availability and sales of zero-emission vehicles in the U.S. through economies of scale. 

Some industry players support these new coming standards. For example, more than 100 influential businesses, including Siemens, ABB, Verizon and Best Buy, came together to support the strongest proposed greenhouse pollution standards for heavy-duty vehicles. These companies, which collectively operate more than 2.5 million fleet vehicles to deliver goods across the country, have worked with experts at CALSTART, Ceres, and the Electrification Coalition

Other truck manufacturers and the oil industry have been advocating to weaken EPA’s pollution standards on heavy-duty trucks, despite saying publicly that they’re committed to cutting their emissions and despite the trucking industry’s main trade group, the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, signing an agreement with California regulators saying publicly they would comply with the state's plan to phase out diesel-powered trucks. The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) has advocated to weaken numerous key aspects of the EPA's proposed "Phase 3" GHG emissions standards for trucks. In June 2023 comments to the EPA, the association said that without substantial revision, including slower timelines, the standards would be "arbitrary, capricious and wholly unreasonable." It also advised the EPA to reopen and reduce the ambition of the phase 2 standards.  

Green America hopes the Biden Administration takes the right road to cleaning up the pollution from heavy duty trucks and protects communities with strong clean truck standards.  

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