EPA’s final truck standards should push continued fuel savings

(ACEEE blog, 12 Mar 2024) Proposed heavy-duty vehicle emissions standards fail to encourage improvements in non-electric models. The final standards should take advantage of cost-effective fuel-saving technologies to further reduce emissions.

The EPA is expected to finalize new rules for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) in the coming weeks. The agency’s proposal falls short by missing the opportunity to save fuel and reduce emissions in internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) by spurring wider adoption of technologies that are already or could become available in the time frame of the standards. The proposal also inadequately pushes zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs).

Forgoing a push for increased ICEV efficiency improvements beyond levels required by the current standard would have a significant cost. For sleeper cab tractors alone, spurring ICEV efficiency improvements between 2028 and 2032—the years at issue in these “Phase 3” standards—can cut 154 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, according to an ACEEE analysis. Improving HDV efficiency past earlier Phase 2 standards for Phase 3 model years and pushing for more electrification can together lead to health and climate benefits worth billions, with much of them occurring in environmental justice communities.

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ACEEE blog, 12 Mar 2024: EPA’s final truck standards should push continued fuel savings