Trucking organizations react to EPA's emissions reduction plan

Updated Mar 11, 2022
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Major trucking lobby groups are having their say about a proposal from the federal government to reduce emissions from heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Monday proposed new standards for heavy-duty truck and engine manufacturers to further reduce emissions starting in model year 2027. The EPA says the proposed standards would reduce emissions of smog- and soot-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) from heavy-duty gasoline and diesel engines by as much as 60% by 2045 and set updated greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for certain commercial vehicle categories.

The proposal is part of the Biden Administration’s “Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks,” and is the first step in EPA’s “Clean Trucks Plan.”

Specifics of the new regulations are still in development, and EPA is seeking comment from industry stakeholders on two regulatory options listed in the proposal.

The major trucking industry lobby groups have weighed in on the EPA's proposal.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said it believes there should have been more conversation with the trucking industry prior to this proposal, and that the proposed regulations would harm small businesses in the industry.

“When the Cleaner Trucks Initiative was first announced in 2020, OOIDA stood side-by-side with EPA in hopes that a collaborative rulemaking process with input from professional truck drivers would result in practical emissions standards,” the group said in a statement. “Today’s announcement largely ignores that goal in favor of government overreach that will almost assuredly force safe drivers off the road, especially small-business truckers and owner-operators.”

OOIDA noted how previous emissions regulations, while well-intentioned, missed the mark, especially early on, with breakdowns and other issues and urged EPA to work with the trucking industry to make sure these new standards meet their goals and don’t harm businesses.  

“Make no mistake, clean air is a priority for everyone,” OOIDA said. “Truckers know this better than most folks, especially when they are having to pay over $5 a gallon [for fuel] in some places. However, we believe there is a more realistic path forward to reducing commercial vehicle emissions that actually involves listening to men and women in the trucking industry. ... Truckers know all too well from experience with previous rulemakings that poorly implemented regulations will result in breakdowns, downtime, and ultimately set back the goal of achieving cleaner air.”

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The American Trucking Associations said it shares the goals of the Biden Administration to reduce air pollution and said it will work with regulators on the proposal.

“We will be looking very closely at the proposal put forth today by the administration, and working with them to shape an outcome that builds on those reductions, while not hurting the reliability of the trucks and trailers we purchase, nor imposing unreasonable or unworkable costs on our industry,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. 

Dave Heller, vice president of the Truckload Carriers Association, said his group is committed to working with the Biden Administration "in exploring the possibilities of utilizing proven emission reduction technologies to efficiently, effectively, and safely supply our nation with the goods it uses daily," he said. "We understand and appreciate the importance of reducing the pollutants caused by our industry but it must be done in a practical, unified manner with all parties involved."