In March of this year, the EPA announced new regulations that would force truck manufacturers to reduce their new vehicles’ emissions. The EPA is still deciding between two proposed options, known as “Option 1” and “Option 2.” This week, a group of 17 Republican Senators signed a letter to the EPA, trying to convince it to adopt the lighter version of the rule, Option 2.
The proposed rule would affect trucks from model year 2027 onward. Option 1 is the stricter version of the rule. It would force manufacturers to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) by 90% by 2031. The EPA estimates this option would reduce HDV emissions by over 50% by 2040.
Option 2 is slightly more lenient. It aims to reduce NOx emissions by 75% for CMVs in model years 2027 or later. This means that manufacturers would have less time to reach these standards, but the standards would be more lax overall.
The EPA announced the rule proposals in March, intending to announce a final decision by the end of this year. However, with the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, it extended its deadline. It expects to issue a final ruling early next year.
Senators Worry EPA Truck Emissions Rule Would Affect Economy
The 17 Senators who signed the EPA letter this week voiced concerns about the economic impact of the Option 1 proposal. They claim that Option 1 would put an unfair burden on truckers and a supply chain that is already struggling. They expressed support for Option 2, which they called “achievable and customer acceptable.”
The Senators are worried about a potential “pre-buy, no-buy” scenario for the trucking industry. This idea stipulates that the new trucks manufactured under Option 1 specifications will be so much more expensive that truck buyers will not buy them. Instead, they’ll buy exclusively from model years that aren’t under the same restrictions. While other experts dispute that this scenario would occur, the trucking industry believes that Option 1’s stricter regulations would lead to this.
It’s worth noting that this federal regulation may ultimately not mean much. That’s because many important freight states, including California, have already begun to implement their own rules about CMV emissions. Many of these regulations are even stricter than the proposed Option 1 guidelines. If enough states make their own truck emissions rules, then the EPA rules may become redundant.