Mar 7, 2022 - Energy & Environment

EPA aims for new limits on emissions from big vehicles

Trucks on highway

Trucks travel on the outbound Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago, Illinois on Jan. 18. Photo: Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday proposed new limits on smog- and soot-forming nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy-duty vehicles like buses, vans and trucks.

Why it matters: This is the first update to tailpipe standards for the largest heavy-duty vehicles in more than 20 years, per the New York Times. It would apply to large 18-wheeler trucks and many school buses, moving trucks and delivery vans by model year 2027.

By the numbers: The proposed rule would lower nitrogen oxide emissions from trucks by an estimate of 60% by 2045, per the news release. By then, the EPA said it will cause up to 2,100 fewer premature deaths and lead to 18,000 fewer cases of asthma in children.

The EPA also announced Monday its proposing an update to existing greenhouse gas standards for heavy-duty vehicles beginning with model year 2027.

  • The agency said it plans to make new rules for greenhouse gas emissions for trucks starting as soon as model year 2030. These will "more comprehensively address the long-term trend towards zero emissions vehicles across the heavy-duty sector," the EPA wrote.

What they're saying: “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," said EPA Administrator Michael Regan in a news release.

  • "These overburdened communities are directly exposed to pollution that causes respiratory and cardiovascular problems, among other serious and costly health effects.
  • “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," he added.

The big picture: The EPA proposal was part of a slate of initiatives for cleaner transit unveiled by Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday.

  • Other proposals include funding for electric zero-emission and low-emission school buses and funding projects for less polluting port equipment.
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