EPA Grants Full Support to Life-Saving California Clean Trucks Rule

March 31, 2023
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – March 31, 2023) The Environmental Protection Agency today granted California’s request for a Clean Air Act preemption waiver for the Advanced Clean Trucks Rule, which will protect millions of people from dangerous pollution emitted by new freight trucks and buses.

It’s the second announcement today from the Biden administration showing the momentum toward clean cars and trucks. Just hours ago, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released a new proposal about tax credits for electric vehicles.

“The Advanced Clean Trucks Rule will save lives, save money for truckers and fleets, save the state billions of dollars in health care costs, and help create thousands of new jobs,” said EDF clean transportation attorney Andy Su. “The standards are critical health and climate protections, especially for people in low-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately harmed by transportation air pollution. Our nation’s clean air laws expressly authorize state leadership in reducing dangerous air pollution from new vehicles, and EPA’s approval of these clean truck standards for California and six other states is a welcome part of that life-saving history.”

For more than half a century the Clean Air Act has included a waiver provision that allows California to adopt standards that are more protective than federal standards in order to guard against air pollution emitted by new cars and trucks. Across Democratic and Republican administrations alike, EPA has repeatedly recognized California’s leadership in addressing harmful tailpipe pollution. Today, EPA approved California’s request for a waiver for its Advanced Clean Trucks Rule, which requires manufacturers of large commercial vehicles like freight trucks, delivery vans, school buses, and garbage trucks to sell an increasing percentage of new zero-emission vehicles.

Heavy-duty vehicles only make up about one-tenth of all the traffic on America’s roads, but they are responsible for more than half of the heath-harming pollution and more than a quarter of the climate pollution from the transportation sector. Under California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule, different classes of new medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses sold in the state must meet different targets ranging from 40% to 75% zero-emitting by 2035.

The California Air Resources Board estimates that the rule will reduce climate pollution by almost three million metric tons each year by 2040, as well as reducing smog-forming NOx pollution and potentially deadly particulate matter pollution. A report by EDF and Energy Innovation found that by 2040 California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule will save at least 900 lives and eliminate as much climate pollution as would be generated by four million cars.

Six other states – Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington – have adopted California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule, as long provided for under our nation’s clean air laws.

Electric vehicles – both passenger cars and trucks, and larger commercial trucks and buses – have already launched a manufacturing renaissance in America. A new report by Environmental Defense Fund and WSP USA, U.S. Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Investments and Jobs: Characterizing the Impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act after 6 Months, found that more than $120 billion in investments and 143,000 new U.S. jobs related to electric vehicle production have been announced in the last eight years. More than 40% of those announcements happened in the last six months, since the U.S. Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act. The report also found that U.S. investments, production capacity, and jobs in the electric vehicle sector will likely continue to grow, especially in response to government actions like California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule.

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