by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule Tuesday that will impose stricter nitrogen dioxide emissions standards on new heavy-duty trucks, a move that will substantially hike operating costs for truckers, experts and industry representatives told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The EPA’s rule, which is more than 80% stricter than the previous regulation, will require large trucks, delivery vans and buses manufactured after 2027 to cut nitrogen dioxide emissions by nearly 50% by 2045, according to an agency press release. The agency’s rule is intended to push truckers to phase out diesel-powered vehicles and use electric vehicles (EV) instead; however, the compliance costs associated with such rules could suffocate an industry that is not ready to transition to EVs, experts told the DCNF.
“It’s an overreach that is indicative of this administration’s tendency to set aside balance to achieve the goals of activists that they are politically aligned with,” Mandy Gunasekara, a senior policy analyst for the Independent Women’s Forum and former EPA Chief of Staff during the Trump administration, told the DCNF. “It’s going to squeeze out the mid-sized and smaller trucking companies because they’re not going to be able to afford to purchase the new, extremely expensive equipment required to continue to do what they do.”
The new rules are intended to phase out older trucks that emit more nitrogen dioxide and will push drivers to purchase electric trucks or newer models of diesel trucks that do not produce as much nitrogen dioxide when they burn fuel, according to the EPA.
“If small business truckers can’t afford the new, compliant trucks, they’re going to stay with older, less efficient trucks or leave the industry entirely,” Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Todd Spencer told trade publication Freight Waves. “Once again, EPA has largely ignored the warnings and concerns raised by truckers in this latest rule.”