Biden cracks down on diesel trucks in bid to fight climate change, reduce emissions

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The Biden administration has finalized long-awaited regulations targeting emissions from heavy vehicles, including trucks and buses, the latest salvo in the president’s broader attack on climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new regulations Friday morning that officials said are the strongest greenhouse gas emissions standards of their kind in history. The rules will apply to 2026-2027 model year vehicles and gradually tighten until the 2032 model year, requiring more trucks and buses to become zero-emission vehicles during that time.

“EPA’s standards will help President Biden’s workforce and workforce reduce harmful emissions while strengthening our nation’s manufacturing capacity for future transportation technologies,” said White House Climate Change Advisor Ali Zaidi. It complements our unprecedented investment in the local community.” “Tackling heavy vehicle pollution can unlock incredible public health, climate and economic benefits.”

“As we finalize emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses, EPA is making significant strides in reducing pollution from our hardest-working vehicles,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Based on the recently finalized light and medium vehicle rule, EPA’s Strong and Durable Vehicle Standards will address the urgency of the climate crisis by significantly reducing emissions from the transportation sector. .”

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President Biden (left) and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan. (Getty Images)

Overall, EPA said the aggressive standards would avoid 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and provide $13 billion in annual net social benefits related to public health, climate and business savings. The agency claims the regulations will put the heavy vehicle industry on a “sustainable growth trajectory.”

The new regulations apply to short-haul and long-haul tractor-trailer trucks, as well as vocational trucks such as delivery vehicles, garbage trucks, school and public transit buses, concrete trucks and fire engines. EPA previously estimated that the standard could result in electrification of 50% of vocational trucks, 35% of short-haul tractor-trailers, and 25% of long-haul tractor-trailers produced in 2032. was.

According to the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, which represents heavy vehicle manufacturers around the world, less than 1% of new vehicle sales in the United States are zero-emission trucks.

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“As the climate crisis unfolds and many of our communities face unprecedented fires, droughts, and floods, truck manufacturers are stepping into the fast lane with zero-emission trucks to deliver the climate, health, and climate we deserve. It is important to provide economic benefits,” Catherine said. Garcia, director of the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign.

Garcia and other environmentalists, who praised the regulation, have long called on the federal government to crack down on the trucking industry, citing its high carbon footprint. According to federal data, the transportation sector accounts for 29% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and medium- and heavy-duty trucks account for 23% of emissions.


According to the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, which represents heavy vehicle manufacturers around the world, less than 1% of new vehicle sales in the United States are zero-emission trucks. (Graham Hughes/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

But the announcement quickly drew backlash from the trucking industry and energy producers, who argued it would lead to higher costs for trucking companies.

“Small business truck drivers happen to care about clean air for themselves and their children more than anyone else,” said Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, which has more than 150,000 members. “People make up 96% of truck transportation.” Members in all 50 states and Canada. “Yet, this administration appears hell-bent on enacting a barrage of unworkable environmental regulations and regulating all local mom-and-pop businesses out of existence.”

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In comments submitted to EPA last year, the Truck Engine Manufacturers Association warned that the administration was overestimating the near-term feasible market penetration and adoption rates of electric trucks and demand for them.

“The current administration appears hell-bent on regulating and eliminating all local independent businesses by enacting a barrage of unworkable environmental regulations,” said Todd of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.・Chairman Spencer says: (Getty Images)

In a joint statement, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturer President and CEO Chet Thompson and the American Petroleum Institute said in a joint statement. Mike Somers, President and CEO They called on Congress to immediately overturn the regulations. They also said they were prepared to take the administration to court over the rule.

“This is another example of the Biden administration’s government-wide effort to eliminate choice for American consumers, businesses, and industries,” Thompson and Somers said. “There are significant uncertainties regarding the technical and infrastructure capacity to comply with this rule, which could threaten the speed and cost of goods moving across the country.”

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The regulation is also sure to draw considerable criticism from Republican lawmakers who have been warning the Biden administration for months not to target the heavy-duty vehicle industry. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said last week that he would introduce a resolution to repeal the standards as soon as they are finalized.

Dan Sullivan

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, plans to introduce a resolution Friday to repeal the finalized standards. (Brandon Belpool/Getty Images)


“In the midst of persistent and devastating inflation, President Biden is choosing to add even more regulatory weight to our economy and critical supply chains,” Sullivan said. “If this rule is left in place, hardworking families across the country will pay the price. The cost of this rule will be felt in higher prices for gasoline, bread, eggs, and other necessities.”

This final standard is slightly more lenient than the original standard proposed in April 2023. The standards come a week after the EPA finalized the strongest combined pollutant emissions standards ever for light and medium-duty vehicles.