EPA to Overhaul Pollution Standards for Passenger Vehicles & Heavy-Duty Trucks, Paving Way for Zero-Emission Future

Washington, DC (August 5, 2021) – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to set robust federal greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks to secure pollution reductions through Model Year (MY) 2026. The proposal, which revises standards set by the previous administration, also outlines the Agency’s plans to initiate a subsequent rulemaking to set standards for MY 2027 and beyond, to speed the transition of the light-duty vehicle fleet toward a zero emissions future.  In addition, EPA is announcing plans to update air pollution standards for heavy-duty vehicles.

Today’s proposal would get EPA’s clean cars program back on track using technology available to make vehicles cleaner and to encourage more hybrid and electric vehicle technology.  The proposed 2023-2026 MY light-duty standards would achieve significant GHG and other pollution reductions and related public health and welfare benefits, while providing drivers with lower operating costs resulting from significant fuel savings.

“Today, EPA takes a major step forward in delivering on President Biden’s ambitious agenda to address the climate crisis and create good paying, union jobs,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “These robust standards are underpinned by sound science and technical expertise, encouraging the development of technology and innovation that will drive America forward into a clean energy future. We are excited about building on the partnerships with states, cities, industry, labor, and NGO stakeholders to realize this vision together.”

To revise the previous administration’s standards, which undercut public health, consumer, and environmental benefits, under its “SAFE” rule in 2020, the proposal would establish more stringent standards for each model year starting in 2023. The proposed standards drive 10 percent greater emissions improvement than the SAFE rule standards for MY 2023 vehicles and then 5 percent greater emissions improvement each year after. For MY 2026, the proposed standards would be the most robust federal GHG standards in U.S. history.

EPA estimates that this proposal would result in 2.2 billion tons of avoided CO2 emissions through 2050. The cumulative emissions avoided through 2050 are roughly equal to one year’s worth of GHG emissions from all petroleum combustion in the U.S. in 2019. Those avoided emissions would provide between $86 and $140 billion in net benefits for Americans. The benefits result from reduced impacts from climate change including harm to human health, property damages from increased flood risk, and changes to agricultural productivity. Further, American drivers would save between $120 to $250 billion in fuel costs through 2050.  With these fuel savings, consumers would benefit from reduced operating costs over the vehicles’ lifetimes.

With this action, EPA is responding to President Biden’s Executive Order 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” (January 20, 2021), and is taking a decisive first step in reestablishing the U.S. auto industry as the global leader in clean vehicle technology.

EPA’s analysis shows that manufacturers would be able to comply with these stronger standards using technology that is already used in today’s vehicles including technologies that improve efficiency of internal combustion vehicles, with modest increases in the numbers of electric vehicles entering the fleet. These standards provide adequate lead time for manufacturers to comply with reasonable costs.

Heavy-Duty Trucks

Separately, EPA is today announcing plans to reduce GHG emissions and other harmful air pollutants from heavy-duty trucks. The agency is working on a series of major rulemakings over the next three years. The first rulemaking, to be finalized in 2022, will apply to heavy duty vehicles starting in MY 2027. That action will set new standards for criteria pollutants for the entire sector as well as targeted upgrades to the current “Phase 2” GHG emissions standards for that model year. A second rule would set more robust GHG emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles sold as soon as MY 2030 and beyond.

“Pollution from trucks has been a long-standing obstacle to advancing environmental justice, as many low-income and minority communities live near highways or in heavily polluted areas with frequent truck congestion and idling,” said Administrator Regan. “EPA is committed to walking our talk and delivering tangible benefits to historically underserved and overburdened communities. Setting clear and stringent standards for truck pollution is critical to delivering on this commitment.”

Taken together, today’s announcements would set the U.S. on a course to achieve aggressive GHG and other harmful pollutant emissions reductions from highway transportation over the long term, paving the way for deploying rapidly developing trends toward zero-emission technologies and the substantial improvements in air quality they will make possible.

For more information on the proposal, please visit:  https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/proposed-rule-revise-existing-national-ghg-emissions

For more information on the heavy duty trucks announcement, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/regulations-emissions-vehicles-and-engines/clean-trucks-plan

Originally published on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 

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