Transportation groups have reacted with skepticism to an aggressive new emission standard announced yesterday by the Biden Administration that is intended to spur investment in electric vehicle (EV) sales.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled “proposed federal vehicle emissions standards that will accelerate the ongoing transition to a clean vehicles future and tackle the climate crisis” by tightening emissions standards for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles for model year (MY) 2027 and beyond.
The section of the policy applying to supply chain operations is the “Greenhouse Gas Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles - Phase 3,” which would apply to heavy-duty vocational vehicles (such as delivery trucks, refuse haulers or dump trucks, public utility trucks, transit, shuttle, school buses) and trucks typically used to haul freight.
In a statement, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said that “By proposing the most ambitious pollution standards ever for cars and trucks, we are delivering on the Biden-Harris Administration’s promise to protect people and the planet, securing critical reductions in dangerous air and climate pollution and ensuring significant economic benefits like lower fuel and maintenance costs for families.”
In the Administration’s view, that requirement would be supported by industry trends that are already moving in that direction. The EPA cited statistics that since 2021, the number of EV sales has tripled, the number of available models has doubled, the number of public chargers across the country has increased 40% to 130,000, and the private sector has committed more than $120 billion in domestic EV and battery investments.
However, several transportation sector groups have said that while they support a transition to lower emissions, the new plan would move too fast.
The Clean Freight Coalition—which was formed just last month to represent trucking carriers, manufacturers, and dealers in the move toward transportation emissions cuts—hinted that the EPA’s quick transition to zero-emission vehicle technology could have an adverse impact on the nation's supply chain.
“Ensuring a feasible transition to new technologies is our primary goal,” the coalition’s executive director, Jim Mullen, said in a release. “An adequate infrastructure, including the power grid and charging stations, and the sourcing of required minerals, are essential to the supply chain as part of the transition to a zero-emission future. Further, regulations must provide the lead time, stability, and certainty that allows for the industry to develop the technology, test in real-world conditions, and minimize downtime and operational disruption.”
Likewise, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said the nation’s charging infrastructure network was not yet sufficient to support that increase in the number of heavy-duty commercial trucks. “Professional drivers are skeptical of EV costs, mileage range, battery weight and safety, charging time, and availability. It’s baffling that the EPA is pushing forward with more impractical emissions timelines without first addressing these overwhelming concerns with electric [commercial motor vehicles],” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said in a release.
The Biden-Harris @EPA is continuing their regulatory blitz on #SmallBusiness #truckers. The latest proposal comes on the heels of a hurried NOx emissions rulemaking finalized in December along with a #California waiver mandating sales of electric trucks. Today’s announcement is a… https://t.co/Dg82kDAAyX— Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (@OOIDA) April 12, 2023