The Biden administration will soon propose a regulation to cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from heavy-duty trucks. It would be the first such regulation since 2001.
The Environmental Protection Agency “is working on a proposed rule to reduce pollution from heavy-duty vehicles and engines that would significantly cut NOx emissions and update [greenhouse gas] standards for certain categories,” EPA spokesman Rick Conger for FreightWaves.
“These standards, currently subject to interagency review, will be rooted in the latest science and the law.”
Separately, Conger noted, the EPA is working to finalize a decision to restore a California waiver — which had been revoked under the Trump administration. It allows the state to set its own more restrictive emissions standards.
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Conger did not confirm reports that EPA’s new NOx regulation will be based on California’s Advanced Clean Truck Regulations, which will affect decisions on buying new trucks beginning with the 2024 model year. A certain percentage of those trucks will need to meet the definitions of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).
The most aggressive number for ZEV requirements under ACT is Class 4-8 trucks, ranging from 14,000 to 33,000 pounds. That requirement is that 9% in that class will be ZEVs in the model year 2024 and 75% by the year 2035. But for Class 7-8 tractors, it’s a 5% requirement in 2024, rising to 40% by the 2032 model year.
The Biden administration recently announced $5 billion in program funds for states to install electric vehicle charging stations. A portion of that could potentially be reserved for commercial truck operations. California’s definition of ZEVs is largely battery-powered vehicles, with a small opening for hydrogen-powered fuel cells.
OEMs “will have to figure out how to adjust — the high cost is figuring out the technology to get to the reduction goals,” said Brett Marston. He specializes in environmental risks to businesses at the law firm Wiley Rein.
“During the comment period, I’m sure OEMs will lay out the additional cost per vehicle, and I would expect that cost to be passed down to the truckers.
On the flip side, if they do it for the model after the California regs, it means it will be easier for the OEMs because they won’t have to follow two types of rules.”
Another ACT provision requires large employers, including retailers, manufacturers, and brokers, to report information about shipments.
Fleet owners with 50 or more trucks must report on their existing fleet operations.
“This information will help identify future strategies to ensure that fleets purchase available zero-emission trucks and place them in service were suitable to meet their needs,” according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB).