The EPA said on Tuesday that they finalized new rules to cut emissions on heavy trucks starting with model year 2027. The agency also said that this is the first time in more than 20 years that standards have been updated, and that the EPA projects that the new standards will save thousands of lives.
The EPA is doing so by virtue of the Clean Air Act, a law enacted in 1963 that has been essential to reducing air pollution in the United States ever since. The EPA describes the new standards for heavy trucks thusly:
Relative to current rules, the new standards are more than 80% stronger, increase useful life of governed vehicles by 1.5–2.5 times, and will yield emissions warranties that are 2.8–4.5 times longer. This final rule includes provisions for longer useful life and warranty periods. These provisions guarantee that as target vehicles age, they will continue to meet EPA’s more stringent emissions standards for a longer period of time. The rule also requires manufacturers to better ensure that vehicle engines and emission control systems work properly on the road. For example, manufacturers must demonstrate that engines are designed to prevent vehicle drivers from tampering with emission controls by limiting tamper-prone access to electronic pollution controls.
The EPA also estimates up to 2,900 fewer deaths, 18,000 fewer cases of childhood asthma, and 1.1 million fewer lost days of school for children as a result of the new standards, which deal with nitrogen oxide emissions. (You can read the whole text of the final rule, which is over 1,150 pages, here if you’re really into that kind of thing.)
The EPA says it is implementing the new standards after getting input from “impacted communities, Tribal, state and local governments, industry leaders, environmental organizations, environmental justice organizations, labor groups, and others,” which is a lot of people. This is all, you know, progress, though it’s hard not to feel a little impatient, as 2027 is over four years from now, and we probably should’ve been doing this stuff long ago.