Biden administration has issued a rule that is likely to shift the US heavy-duty truck fleet toward EVs

The Biden administration has officially approved a rule on Friday that is set to increase the adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S. trucking industry.

According to administration officials, determining the precise percentage of new heavy-duty truck sales that could be electric under the rule is challenging. They explained that the rule applies to eight different classes of trucks, making it difficult to provide an exact figure.

According to officials, the sales of electric heavy trucks are projected to surpass 20 percent by 2040.

According to the rule, there is a potential scenario where the sales of lighter heavy-duty trucks could reach 60 percent electric by 2032. Similarly, sales of medium heavy-duty trucks could be 40 percent electric by the same year, while sales of heavy heavy-duty trucks could be 30 percent electric.

The rules for trucks do not specifically require a transition to electric vehicles (EVs). Instead, they establish pollution limits for the average emissions of truck manufacturers’ fleets, which are anticipated to encourage the adoption of electric and other environmentally-friendly technologies such as hybrids.

The EPA’s rule also offers an alternative scenario where the standards can be met through the use of hybrid trucks and trucks powered by natural gas and hydrogen, instead of relying solely on electric trucks.

The finalized truck rule’s requirements were relaxed for the earlier years of the program, similar to the recently issued rules for passenger vehicles. This adjustment was made to facilitate the development of new technology and the deployment of more charging infrastructure.

According to an EPA spokesperson, the newly implemented rule is projected to achieve a slightly higher reduction in emissions compared to the proposed rule.

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By 2055, it is estimated that this initiative will prevent a billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. This is roughly equivalent to the emissions produced by 263 coal plants in one year.

Transportation accounts for approximately 27 percent of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions, with heavy-duty trucks contributing a quarter of this total. Therefore, heavy trucks alone are responsible for approximately 7 percent of the nation’s overall emissions.

Officials have stated that the implementation of this rule is anticipated to have multiple benefits, including a reduction in the release of various pollutants. This, in turn, would have a positive impact on public health.

According to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, approximately 72 million Americans, often individuals from marginalized communities or those with lower incomes, reside in close proximity to freight truck routes.

“According to him, these communities bear a disproportionate burden of pollution from heavy-duty vehicles, which leads to higher instances of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and even premature death. He emphasized the importance of reducing emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, as it would result in cleaner air and less pollution.”

The rule raised concerns among truck manufacturers, as expressed by a trade group representing them.

Jed Mandel, president of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, expressed his concern over the final rule, stating that it has the potential to become the most difficult, expensive, and disruptive heavy-duty emissions rule in history.

The availability of charging infrastructure and the demand for electric trucks were key concerns raised by his group. They questioned whether there would be enough charging stations to support the growing number of electric trucks on the road. Additionally, there were doubts about whether customers would purchase enough electric trucks to ensure compliance with regulations.

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Republicans have responded to the rule with tangible pushback, announcing their plans to introduce a resolution aimed at overturning it.

In a joint statement, Senators Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), along with Representatives John James (R-Mich.) and Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), expressed their concern over President Biden’s mandate for electric vehicles (EVs) in the heavy truck industry. They argued that this mandate would lead to increased expenses and disrupt the nation’s supply chain, ultimately making the United States more dependent on China.

“We will introduce legislation in both the House and Senate under the Congressional Review Act to prevent Biden’s EV mandates from becoming a reality,” they affirmed.

Unfortunately, the chances of the effort succeeding are slim. This is because it requires either the president’s approval or significant majorities to override a presidential veto.

In the meantime, two associations representing the oil industry expressed their intention to take legal action.

“The leaders of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and American Petroleum Institute lobby groups, Chet Thompson and Mike Sommers, expressed their strong belief that Congress should overturn this misguided rule. However, if that does not happen, our organizations are ready to consider legal challenges,” stated a joint statement from Thompson and Sommers.

Environmental organizations have generally lauded the revised standards, although a few have expressed the belief that additional measures could have been implemented to further decrease truck emissions.

Guillermo Ortiz, an advocate for clean vehicles at the Natural Resources Defense Council, expressed his support for the EPA standards, stating that they would not only safeguard our families from harmful pollution but also contribute to a safer climate.

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He expressed that this rule could have accomplished more.

The urgency to act is evident in every wheeze and gasp for breath among communities affected by freight movement. It is crucial for the federal government to take immediate and comprehensive measures to address this detrimental impact on our families.

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