EPA to Require Heavy-Duty Vehicle Manufacturers to Offer Cleaner Options

Industry associations ask that agency incentivize renewable liquid fuels in addition to electric vehicles
Truck emissions
Photograph: Shutterstock

Starting in model year 2027, manufacturers of delivery and public utility trucks must offer cleaner technologies, according to new greenhouse gas standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Manufacturers can choose to offer a range of heavy-duty vehicle technologies, including advanced internal combustion engine vehicles, hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

This action relates to companies that manufacture, sell or import new heavy-duty highway vehicles and engines into the United States. The policy applies to delivery trucks, refuse haulers, public utility trucks, tractors and transit, shuttle and school buses.

“These ‘Phase 3’ greenhouse gas standards will result in significant benefits for public health and welfare through substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from heavy-duty vehicles,” according to the EPA.

The EPA standard, announced on March 29, follows new standards for light- and medium-duty vehicles that will phase-in over the same time period. By 2032, the rule calls for automakers to meet a fleetwide average emissions rate of 85 grams per mile, down from 192 grams for current model year 2024 vehicles.

The National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) issued a statement in response to the policy, asking that the EPA incentivize renewable liquid fuels in addition to electric vehicles.

A single gallon of biodiesel reduces emissions by nearly 80% compared with diesel. Renewable diesel and biodiesel represent the best opportunity for reducing carbon emissions from the existing fleet of trucks for the foreseeable future,” the statement said.

It also points out that "fuel retailers will need to invest $57 billion to build out a sufficiently dense long-haul charging network, according to a recent study released by Roland Berger. To electrify all medium and heavy-duty vehicles, fleets and charge point operators will need to invest $620 billion into chargers, site infrastructure and utility service costs.

The organizations stated that refueling locations will need dozen of chargers to serve heavy-duty trucks, and the power grid cannot sustain that level yet.

The charging capacity required at a single large truck stop would be roughly equivalent to the electric load of an entire small town, the statement said. Considering that utilities will need to invest $320 billion to upgrade the nation's power grid, we remain unconvinced that the electricity providers will be able to increase generation and transmission activity to service that kind of load at scale within 10 years.

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