EPA proposes strictest emission standards for all vehicles, including trucks

April 13, 2023

Tyson Fisher


The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the strictest vehicle emission standards at the federal level, including heavy-duty trucks.

On Wednesday, April 12, the Biden administration announced the proposal of two new rules regarding vehicle emissions. One rule deals with emissions from passenger vehicles. The second rule updates emission standards for buses, freight trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles.

The EPA’s proposed emission standards for heavy trucks would require a quarter of new heavy trucks sold in the U.S. to be all-electric by 2032.

According to the EPA’s 717-page proposal, the upfront cost difference between an electric truck and an internal combustion engine truck is $582 for a short-haul daycab tractor. However, that price difference skyrockets to $14,712 for long-haul sleeper cab tractors.

Also known as the Greenhouse Gas Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles – Phase 3, the proposal complements the criteria pollutant standards for model year 2027 and beyond heavy-duty vehicles that EPA finalized in December 2022 and represents the third phase of EPA’s Clean Trucks Plan.

EPA is proposing stronger carbon dioxide standards for model year 2027 heavy-duty vehicles that go beyond the current emission standards that apply under the HD Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas program. EPA is also is proposing an additional set of carbon dioxide standards for heavy-duty vehicles that would begin to apply in model year 2028, with progressively lower standards each model year through 2032.

“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,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement.

Too soon?

Several stakeholders pushed back on the proposed emission standards while most Americans remain hesitant to purchase an electric vehicle.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association calls the rulemaking “hurried” and points out the lack of a national charging infrastructure. OOIDA President Todd Spencer issued the following statement:

“The Biden-Harris EPA is continuing their regulatory blitz on small-business truckers. The latest proposal comes on the heels of a hurried nitrogen oxide emissions rulemaking finalized in December along with a California waiver mandating sales of electric trucks. Today’s announcement is a blatant attempt to force consumers into purchasing electric vehicles while a national charging infrastructure network remains absent for heavy-duty commercial trucks. Professional drivers are skeptical of (electric vehicle) 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). The pursuit of this radical environmental agenda in conjunction with an anticipated speed limiter mandate will regulate the safest and most experienced truckers off the road.”


The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, whose members include the biggest auto manufacturers in the world, is suggesting the Biden administration is moving too fast with its proposed emission standards.

In a blog post, the alliance’s president, John Bozzella, points out the new rules exceed Biden’s 50% electrification target that was announced in 2021. It also goes beyond the National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization’s target, which is also at 50%.

“Remember this: a lot has to go right for this massive – and unprecedented – change in our automotive market and industrial base to succeed, especially as 284 million light-duty vehicles across the country (that average 12 years in age) remain on the roads,” Bozzella said in a statement. “As of last year, (electric vehicles) accounted for just over 1% of all light-duty vehicles.”

On the same day as the EPA announcement, a Gallup poll regarding Americans’ thoughts on electric vehicles was released. According to the poll, more than 40% of Americans would not buy an electric vehicle, with another 43% indicating they might consider an electric vehicle in the future. Only 12% said they are seriously considering one, and 4% actually own an electric vehicle. LL