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Air Quality

EPA Wants To Cut Semi Emissions By 60 Percent

The EPA plans to set new rules to slash truck emissions by 60 percent by 2045.

Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it would be proposing new rules to cut smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions from heavy duty vehicles. The new rules could require up to 60 percent cut in the NOx emissions by 2045.

In a bid to help companies meet those lofty emissions goals, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced $1.5 billion to help state and local governments purchase US-built electric school and transit buses in 2022, as well as other low emission heavy duty vehicles (think: semi trucks, garbage trucks, etc.).  The department also announced another $2.2 billion in funding to 35 transit agencies across 18 states.

Electrify Everything

Mack Trucks electric garbage truck.

Reducing emissions is great for the planet, but there’s a huge societal benefit as well – one that the EPA is putting those front and center. “Seventy-two million people are estimated to live near truck freight routes in America, and they are more likely to be people of color and those with lower incomes. These overburdened communities are directly exposed to pollution that causes respiratory and cardiovascular problems, among other serious and costly health effects,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “These new standards will drastically cut dangerous pollution by harnessing recent advancements in vehicle technologies from across the trucking industry as it advances toward a zero-emissions transportation future,”

The newly proposed EPA action would reduce NOx emissions and result in widespread air quality improvements across the US, especially in densely populated areas already overburdened by air pollution and diesel emissions. “The benefits of the proposed rule would exceed its costs by billions of dollars,” claims the agency, which cited the following annual benefits:

  • Up to 2,100 fewer premature deaths
  • 6,700 fewer hospital admissions and emergency department visits
  • 18,000 fewer cases of asthma onset in children
  • 3.1 million fewer cases of asthma symptoms and allergic rhinitis symptoms
  • 78,000 fewer lost days of work
  • 1.1 million fewer lost school days for children

The new standards should help push the heavy truck segment into electrification more quickly, and increase sales of new electric trucks from Kenworth, Freightliner, Volvo, Mack, and others – and may even lead to more EV conversions of school buses. Time will tell.

In the meantime, we invite you to head down into the comments section and let us know what you think of the EPA’s new proposed rules (below) and what impact they may have in the electrification of the heavy truck market. Enjoy!

EPA Proposes Stronger Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles to Promote Clean Air, Protect Communities, and Support Transition to Zero-Emissions Future

WASHINGTON  –Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing new, stronger standards to promote clean air and reduce pollution from heavy-duty vehicles and engines starting in model year (MY) 2027. The proposed standards would reduce emissions of smog- and soot-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy-duty gasoline and diesel engines and set updated greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for certain commercial vehicle categories.  This proposed rule would ensure the heavy-duty vehicles and engines that drive American commerce and connect people across the country are as clean as possible while charting a path to advance zero-emission vehicles in the heavy-duty fleet.

“Seventy-two million people are estimated to live near truck freight routes in America, and they are more likely to be people of color and those with lower incomes. These overburdened communities are directly exposed to pollution that causes respiratory and cardiovascular problems, among other serious and costly health effects,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These new standards will drastically cut dangerous pollution by harnessing recent advancements in vehicle technologies from across the trucking industry as it advances toward a zero-emissions transportation future.”

Consistent with President Biden’s Executive Order, “Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks,” the proposed action would reduce NOx emissions from trucks by as much as 60 percent in 2045.  It would result in widespread air quality improvements across the United States, especially in areas already overburdened by air pollution and diesel emissions. The benefits of the proposed rule would exceed its costs by billions of dollars. EPA estimates that by 2045 the most ambitious option outlined in today’s proposal would result in the following annual benefits:

    • Up to 2,100 fewer premature deaths
    • 6,700 fewer hospital admissions and emergency department visits 
    • 18,000 fewer cases of asthma onset in children 
    • 3.1 million fewer cases of asthma symptoms and allergic rhinitis symptoms
    • 78,000 fewer lost days of work
    • 1.1 million fewer lost school days for children

Today’s action is the first step in EPA’s “Clean Trucks Plan” – a series of clean air and climate regulations that the agency will develop over the next three years to reduce pollution from trucks and buses and to advance the transition to a zero-emissions transportation future. 

EPA’s goal is to deliver significant and needed public health benefits by designing a program that sets ambitious standards and that are feasible for the trucking industry after giving appropriate consideration to cost and other factors, while supporting the American economy.  To accomplish this, EPA has engaged with stakeholders and identified several options in the proposal that address the robustness of the standards, timing for phasing in the standards, options to incentivize early clean technology adoption, and improvements to emissions warranties. EPA is seeking input on these options and looking forward to continuing engagement through the public comment process.

The proposed revisions to existing GHG standards for MY2027 and beyond would set updated GHG emissions standards for subsectors where electrification is advancing at a more rapid pace.  These sectors include school buses, transit buses, commercial delivery trucks, and short-haul tractors. In a separate action, EPA will be setting new GHG emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles as soon as model year 2030. This action will more comprehensively address the longterm trend towards zero emissions vehicles across the heavy-duty sector.

Today’s proposal reflects input from stakeholders including community groups, manufacturers, and state, local, and tribal governments. EPA looks forward to hearing from all stakeholders involved in this important rulemaking. A public comment period and hearing will give stakeholders and the public an opportunity to comment on the proposal announced today and we look forward to engaging through this process.

For more information on the rule on the public comment process, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/proposed-rule-and-related-materials-control-air-1

Source: EPA.

 
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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

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