More than 150 lawmakers ask EPA to rescind heavy-duty emission rule

July 3, 2024

Mark Schremmer


More than 150 lawmakers are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to rescind its final rule regarding emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles.

Led by Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, a group of 157 lawmakers sent a letter on Tuesday, July 2 to EPA Administrator Michael Regan and President Joe Biden.

The Senators and members of Congress say the rule will place a heavy burden on truckers, farmers and other businesses across the country.

“This final rule, which encompasses heavy-duty vehicles ranging from delivery trucks and school buses to tractors and semis, would disrupt the heavy-duty truck industry by forcing the broad adoption of heavy-duty zero emission vehicles on an extremely aggressive timeline, despite these vehicles currently being less than 1% of sales,” the lawmakers wrote. “According to a recent study, it would cost nearly $1 trillion in infrastructure investment alone to fully electrify the U.S. commercial fleet, which does not include the expense of purchasing new semis. Additionally, the cost for an electric semi-truck averages over $400,000 while a comparable diesel Class 8 truck costs around $180,000 – meaning electric trucks cost an average of 122% more than a normal semi.”

Earlier this year, the EPA announced its final rule formally known as “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles – Phase 3.” The new truck emission standards apply to heavy-duty vehicles for model years 2027 through 2032.

Commonly referred to as “zero-emission” trucks, electric and hydrogen-fueled trucks are actually “zero-direct-emission” vehicles, as defined by the Department of Energy. Although emission measured on a tailpipe basis (direct) may be zero, emission related to battery production, distribution, recycling and disposal do not have a net-zero result.

The EPA rule requires that 25% of sleeper cab tractors must be zero-direct-emission vehicles by 2032.

Opponents say the aggressive rule will hurt the agriculture industry and will cost Americans more in utilities and groceries.

“Our farmers and agricultural industry will be especially hurt by this new mandate,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “According to the latest agriculture census by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are 3,161,820 trucks (including pickups) on over 1.4 million farms and 3,784,743 tractors on over 1.5 million farms that would see higher equipment costs and tighter margins due to this misguided rule … Not only would rule harm consumers, but it would also exacerbate consolidation by effectively forcing our small trucking companies out of business (because they) cannot afford this hasty transition to electric or hydrogen powered trucks.”

Earlier this month, OOIDA, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Corn Growers Association challenged the EPA rule in federal court.

“Small-business truckers make up 96% of trucking and could be regulated out of existence if the EPA’s unworkable heavy-duty rule comes into effect,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said in a statement. “This rule would devastate the reliability of America’s supply chain and ultimately increase costs for consumers. Mom-and-pop trucking businesses would be suffocated by the sheer cost and operational challenges of effectively mandating zero-emission trucks, but this administration appears intent on forcing through its deluge of misguided environmental mandates. As the voice of over 150,000 small-business truckers, we owe it to our members and every small-business trucker in America to leave no stone unturned in fighting these radical environmental policies.” LL

Land Line Associate Editor Tyson Fisher contributed to this report.