EPA Proposes Pollution Standards for Freight Trucks and Buses

March 7, 2022
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – March 7, 2022) Today, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed strengthened standards for harmful air pollution from freight trucks and buses starting with model year 2027. Alongside these standards the Biden administration announced a suite of investments and tools it would pursue to help immediately accelerate zero-emitting vehicle deployment.

“Heavy-duty vehicles like freight trucks, delivery vans, transit buses and school buses are a significant source of both climate pollution and deadly diesel pollution,” said Peter Zalzal, EDF Senior Counsel and Associate Vice President for Clean Air Strategies. “Today’s EPA proposal and the administration’s planned actions and investments are an important start, but they do not yet ensure levels of zero-emission vehicle deployment that are feasible and needed. Rapid deployment of zero-emission vehicles will protect the health of all Americans, help address the climate crisis, provide economic benefits to fleets and help create good-paying American jobs, and strengthen our energy security in the face of increasingly volatile global markets. We look forward to working with EPA to substantially strengthen these proposed standards and to ensure we are using every tool in the toolbox to rapidly deploy zero-emitting solutions.”

Medium and heavy-duty vehicles are less than ten percent of all the vehicles on our roads, but they are responsible for almost a quarter of all climate pollution and more than half of the smog-forming pollution from the transportation sector. That dangerous pollution disproportionately harms low-income communities and communities of color. These vehicles also consume more than 55 billion gallons of fuel annually. This fuel is a significant cost for truckers and fleets, and fuel has likewise faced recent price increases and supply uncertainties related to the volatile global geo-political landscape.  

Today’s EPA proposal strengthens standards for smog-forming NOx pollution from diesel vehicles, including one proposed option similar to California’s standards for NOx pollution from these vehicles. The proposal also includes incremental strengthening of standards for climate pollution from some vehicles. EPA has asked for comments on whether substantially stronger standards that could more meaningfully drive zero-emission vehicle deployment may be appropriate in light of the rapidly changing market for zero-emitting vehicles – vehicles that can eliminate all harmful tailpipe pollution.

Today the administration also announced investments and actions to accelerate near-term zero-emitting vehicle deployment. These include new funding for electric school buses, leveraging existing funding for zero-emitting solutions in the bi-partisan infrastructure bill, driving down pollution at ports through Department of Transportation grants, and accelerating innovation through the Department of Energy’s SuperTruck3 Program.

It is critical that EPA standards and complementary administration actions drive substantial deployment of zero-emission vehicles. EDF has done extensive analysis on the cost, availability, and benefits of deploying zero-emitting solutions, including:

  • A recent report from Roush Industries analyzing the rapidly declining cost of zero-emitting solutions and concluding that in 2027 zero-emitting vehicles will in many cases have lower up-front costs and in all cases lower total cost of ownership
  • An analysis by MJ Bradley and Associates concluding that a transition to zero-emission vehicles is feasible across many urban and community-based applications
  • An EDF analysis evaluating the health and societal benefits of transition to zero-emission vehicles which concluded we could save a total of 57,000 lives and produce $485 billion in net societal benefits by 2050

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