Proposed EPA emission standards will deliver cleaner trucks and buses, but more is needed
8 March 2022 (Washington DC) – Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Transportation and Air Quality issued a proposed rule to limit emissions of nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases from new heavy-duty engines and vehicles. Existing pollution limits on diesel trucks were set more than twenty years ago. This Administration deserves tremendous credit for proposing the next generation of clean truck standards.
The proposed standards have the potential to reduce a significant number of premature deaths, childhood asthma cases, and disparities in pollution exposure among the nearly 72 million people – disproportionately people of color and low-income households – living along diesel truck corridors. But to realize this opportunity, these new standards must reduce the real-world NOx emissions of diesel trucks and they must be finalized by the end of the year.
EPA puts forward as their first option a proposal that aligns with California model year 2027 NOx engine standards in model year 2031. This is a big step in the right direction. Certain elements of the proposal do not capture the full benefits available, and so in the coming weeks we will be recommending additional ways EPA can strengthen these. ICCT modeling shows that nationwide alignment with the California Omnibus rule could avoid $1.3 trillion in health damages associated with ambient PM2.5 and ozone pollution from 2027-2050.
With the realities of climate change upon us, new truck pollution standards should also be aimed at moving the markets towards ambitious, science-based goals that are balanced by feasibility. While the proposal includes updates to GHG emission limits on heavy-duty trucks, these changes simply meet the markets where they are without moving them forward. Our research shows that far more is possible and far more is needed.
We look forward to responding to the EPA request for comments on how its proposal could promote electrification of heavy-duty vehicles, such as transit and school buses and urban delivery trucks. We recently outlined how this could be done in this briefing. In the coming weeks we will be sharing with EPA the ways in which we think the proposal can require far more electrification of the truck and bus fleet.