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Engine Technology Forum’s Statement about EPA’s New Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emissions Standards

WASHINGTON (March 29, 2024) – The Engine Technology Forum issued the following statement from Executive Director Allen Schaeffer about the announcement of the U.S. EPA’s final rule regarding greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles Phase 3:

“Today’s announcement by EPA establishes challenging new standards that lower emissions for model year 2027-32 commercial trucks. It requires truck makers to convert an increasing percentage of total vehicle sales each year to zero emission vehicles.

“This rule also reinforces the continued role and establishes the next chapter for advanced internal combustion engines in the trucking industry, with new targets for lower emissions and greater efficiency.

“The trucking industry is already a substantial contributor to lowering greenhouse gas and other emissions from investing in new ultra-clean heavy-duty trucks and using renewable low-carbon renewable biofuels including biodiesel, renewable diesel, and renewable natural gas. In recent years, more greenhouse gas reductions in California have come from the use of renewable biodiesel fuels in diesel trucks than from vehicle electrification.

“In a study of 10 northeastern states, it was determined that over the next decade  switching to renewable diesel fuel and accelerating the turnover of the oldest diesel trucks to the newest generation diesels would achieve three times the greenhouse gas reductions at 25% of the cost of a full zero emission vehicle (electric) option.

“Diesel engines power more than three-quarters of all commercial trucks today. Of the largest tractor trailer size rigs; diesel powers 97% of the fleet. More than 57% of all commercial trucks in operation are outfitted with the newest generation of ultra-clean, near-zero emissions, advanced diesel technology.

“Diesel is the established and dominant technology for trucking. Its unique combination of affordability, performance, driving range, durability, and reliability is unmatched. Internal combustion engines’ ease of fueling, parts and servicing nationwide, high resale value, ability to use renewable biobased diesel fuels, and its near zero emissions performance also make it the leading choice for fleets and drivers.

“The EPA envisions that the rule can be met with a diverse range of technologies, including advanced internal combustion engine vehicles, hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

“Ideally, the EPA rules would be based on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions rather than a tailpipe-only basis. A life-cycle approach supports consumer choice for both fuels and vehicles. There are many paths to reducing carbon and other emissions; including further advancements to internal combustion engines and the use of renewable fuels, and new fuels like hydrogen. We envision a future where truckers can choose whatever technology best suits their needs; battery electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or advanced gasoline, natural gas, or diesel vehicles.

“Truck and engine manufacturers have a strong record and decades of accomplishments lowering emissions as well as boosting the efficiency of the gasoline, diesel, and natural gas engines that power the trucking industry. We expect those accomplishments and innovations in advanced combustion technology to continue, even as the industry develops zero emission vehicles.

“The commercial trucking industry is diverse in its size and number of vehicle types. It covers a wide range of vehicles including delivery vehicles, school buses, dump trucks, as well as short and long-haul tractor trailers. According to the American Trucking Associations, more than 97% of the industry is comprised of fleets of 20 or fewer vehicles. It is definitely not a one-size fits all kind of industry.

“As was the case for the recent EPA multi-pollutant rule for light and medium-duty passenger vehicles and trucks, the ultimate success of this new rule for heavy-duty trucks is contingent upon a number of factors, many of which are outside the control of vehicle manufacturers. Truckers’ acceptance of zero emission vehicle technologies; the rapid transformation of the industrial base to support widespread electrification; and the establishment of a national charging infrastructure; all of which require unprecedented capital investments.”

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