EPA Proposes Tougher Emissions Rules to Make Heavy-Duty Trucks Cleaner

EPA Proposes Tougher Emissions Rules to Make Heavy-Duty Trucks Cleaner
epa proposes tougher emissions rules to make heavy-duty trucks cleaner
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  • the environmental protection agency has revealed a proposal for stricter emissions regulations for heavy-duty trucks that would start to take effect in 2027.
  • the plan aims to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by between 47 and 60 percent by 2045 and to increase the longevity of truck engines and their emissions systems.
  • trucking industry groups are behind the push for better air quality but have voiced concerns over the costs the new regulations will bring, with the american trucking associations saying it wants to ensure new rules won't lead to "hurting the reliability of the trucks and trailers we purchase, nor imposing unreasonable or unworkable costs on our industry."

    the passenger-car market is shifting toward electrification, but even as companies including tesla and nikola pursue electric or hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, the heavy-duty-truck industry will continue to predominantly rely on internal combustion for the foreseeable future. with that in mind, the environmental protection agency has proposed a new set of rules to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, aiming to cut nitrogen oxide emissions between 47 and 60 percent by 2045.

    the focus of the epa’s proposal is keeping emission-control systems in working order for a longer portion of the engine's operating life. to achieve this, the agency is weighing two options for longer warranties, both of which would start to take effect for the 2027 model year. the first option would see 2027 to 2030 engines receive a seven-year/450,000-mile warranty, and a 10-year/600,000-mile warranty from 2031 onward. the more lenient second option would require a five-year/350,000-mile warranty. the epa said it hopes these measures will lead to more durable engines, better engine maintenance, and less temptation to tamper with emission-control systems.

    on the subject of tampering with systems (the word "tampering" appears 92 times in the epa's massive proposal document), the agency wrote: "since emission-related repairs would be covered for a longer period of time, the owner will be more likely to have systems repaired and, consequently, may be less likely to tamper to avoid the cost of a repair that is no longer covered by a warranty. owners may also be less likely to install defeat devices that are marketed to boost engine performance since installing such a device would void the engine warranty."

    tougher rules for school buses, delivery trucks, tractors

    the epa also plans to stiffen greenhouse-gas emissions standards first set in 2016 for the 2027 model year. the updated regulations would apply to delivery trucks, short-haul tractors, school buses, and transit buses. the agency estimated in its proposal that the technologies needed to meet the more stringent rules will result in an approximate $4000 cost increase per vehicle. the epa also said it will set new greenhouse-gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks by 2030.

    the epa argues that the new regulations would drastically better air quality, and that by 2045, under the strictest proposal, there would be as many as 18,000 fewer cases of childhood asthma, 1.1 million fewer lost school days for kids, and 6700 fewer hospital admissions and er visits. according to the epa, while just 5 percent of all vehicles on american roads are medium and heavy-duty vehicles, they pump out 24 percent of the total greenhouse gases.

    in initial reactions to the epa proposal, trucking-industry groups have not disagreed about the need for cleaner air but have expressed initial concerns over the plan's details. the owner-operator independent drivers association (ooida) stated it believes the proposal will hurt small businesses and that more outreach with the trucking industry should have occurred first. the american trucking associations also stressed the need to ensure that the new regulations will not hurt the reliability of the trucks and induce unreasonable costs on the industry.

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