The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced updates to their emissions standards and regulations for trucks on Tuesday. The new rules are designed to reduce air pollution from heavy-duty vehicles, while also providing economic benefits for truck owners and operators.
The EPA updates emissions standards and regulations on a regular basis. The agency’s most recent update was in 2021, when it finalized new standards for passenger vehicles. The regulations are designed to reduce emissions of air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).
The last update to emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks dates back to the early 2000s, however. The new requirements will reduce NOx output in these type of vehicles by over 80 percent and cut the pollutant overall by an estimated 48 percent around mid-century.
To further reduce pollution from trucks, the EPA is also requiring manufacturers to install advanced pollution control technologies on new vehicles to meet stricter NOx and PM limits. The EPA’s new test procedures will better reflect real-world driving conditions, resulting in more accurate emissions data.
EPA is taking significant action to protect public health, especially the health of 72 million people living near truck freight routes in America, including our most vulnerable populations in historically overburdened communities.EPA Administrator Michael Regan
The EPA’s truck standards are based on engine manufacturers’ test procedures. These tests measure emissions of pollutants from both the engine and the vehicle as a whole. The EPA uses these results to develop emission limits for each type of truck to reduce pollution, benefiting public health and the environment.
The new standards, known as the Clean Truck Plan, will prevent up to 2,900 premature deaths and 18,000 cases of asthma in children each year starting in 2045. In addition, the agency estimates up to $29 billion in health benefits will be realized over the life of the program.
One of the most important aspects of the EPA’s work is ensuring that the benefits of new emissions standards outweigh the costs. This cost-benefit analysis is complex, and takes into account a number of factors, including the health impacts of various air pollutants, the pollution reduction benefits of new technologies and the compliance costs for truck owners and manufacturers.
On the same day as the EPA’s Clean Truck Plan rollout, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced it plans to purchase over 66,000 electric-powered delivery vehicles by 2028 at a cost of $9.6 billion — a significant first step in fulfilling USPS’s promise to eventually electrify 40 percent of its fleet.
A key focus of our modernization effort is to reduce inefficient transportation and improve distribution operations, resulting in far less air cargo and far fewer truck trips. When combined with our substantial commitment to the electrification of our delivery vehicles, the Postal Service will be at the forefront of our nation’s green initiatives.Postmaster General Louis DeJoy
In 2021, President Biden issued an executive order requiring federal agencies only buy electric vehicles starting in 2035.
The EPA’s updated emissions standards for trucks and USPS’s announcement signify serious efforts on the part of the federal government to reduce air pollution. These are important policy initiatives to protect public health and reduce America’s carbon footprint as the U.S. strives to do its part in combating climate change in the 21st century.
Edited by James Sutton