Transportation is largest source of global warming emissions in the United States, making it an important piece of the puzzle to tackle climate change. Every new car sold today can be on the road for two or even three decades, which means that reaching the 2050 goal requires immediate action. This is what makes Yesterday’s actions by the Biden administration very important—EPA has proposed new emissions targets for both passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks manufactured and sold through 2032, which will accelerate the ongoing transition to electrification go out.
Electric transportation is a necessary component of tackling climate change. But it also represents an important solution to addressing the long-term public health harms of our transportation system, at the expense of communities of color disproportionately. proportional. While yesterday’s proposals are a welcome step and will go a long way toward tackling climate change, the administration’s actions to tackle harmful soot and particulate pollution from heavy trucks affecting the local community has not yet achieved results.
Below, I’ve summarized the main takeaways of the two proposals made today and what we hope to see in the future. There is a months-long process ahead to bring these rules to fruition: through strong engagement with frontline communities, authorities can finalize and implement passenger vehicle standards and heavy duty trucks focus on the needs of those most affected by the rules and aim to eliminate exhaust pollution altogether.
An ambitious and achievable goal to electrify privately owned vehicles
While additional action to reduce car use is needed to address climate change, to the extent that the United States continues to depend on privately owned passenger cars and trucks, those miles have to be electricity, powered by an increasingly clean grid. This proposal will help accelerate that necessary transition.
Recent survey results shows that there is more demand for electric cars and trucks than there are electric vehicles being produced at the moment. For those who usually only buy a car once a decade and more often than not, used market, it is imperative that new vehicles be electrified as soon as possible. According to this proposal, by 2032, up to two-thirds of the new fleet will be able to run on electricity. This number exceeds stated goal of the presidentand it’s almost on the right track that we need it, which is to fully electrify the fleet of new vehicles by 2035.
Importantly, this proposal recognizes the overwhelming amount of support for this transition, including the two climate-related legislation that Congress passed last term. Incentives for production, infrastructure and purchases support the rapid growth of electric vehicles in the time needed to meet climate goals.
One key point that was perhaps overlooked in the original proposed scope is how much more efficient the remaining gasoline-powered vehicles are expected to be. While the share of electric vehicles is expected to increase under this rule, 40 percent of vehicles sold in 2030 even under this proposal will still run on gasoline. For those vehicles, we think there’s plenty of room for improvement. While the EPA has expected gasoline-powered vehicles to improve by nearly 20% between now and 2032 to meet its standards, much of it is a result of the standards already in the books so far. 2026, but this can and should be closer to 30-35% to be consistent with our urgent need to tackle climate change. And, to the extent possible, we need the EPA to become improve driving efficiency for electric vehicles also.
Protecting public health and the climate
An important aspect of the light vehicle proposal that also hasn’t been addressed is that these proposed new emissions standards are not just related to global warming emissions: the EPA has proposed medium-range standards. new fleet-wide tanks for smoke-forming emissions (nitrogen oxides [NOX] and volatile organic compounds [VOCs]) as well as particulate matter (PM) for passenger cars and trucks.
Electrification can completely remove emissions from exhaust pipes, which means directly reducing harmful pollution that affects the air we breathe. This is especially important for the disproportionate BIPOC population along highways and near hubs of freight activity such as ports and warehouses. Setting the “multi-pollutant” standard as proposed by the EPA for light vehicles helps reduce emissions simultaneously from both the best available emission reduction technologies for all pollutants, for whether gasoline-powered vehicles (e.g. gasoline particulate filters for PM and hybrids to reduce CO2) or decrease by shifting market share to vehicles with no exhaust emissions.
Unfortunately, while the Biden administration has directly addressed harmful particulate and smog pollution from passenger cars and trucks, it has not done so for the heavy truck sector. that means their proposal will not necessarily accelerate the transition to zero emissions necessary for public health.
UCS and our allies have called on the agency to adopt a multiple-polluter strategy for its heavy rule-making process, and we will continue to support that strategy during the comment period.
Heavy truck proposals need more ambition, more urgency
While recent headlines have called the EPA’s light vehicle emissions proposal “Strict“”dramatic,” And “ambitious,” almost nothing was said about the heavy duty proposal that was also launched today. Unfortunately, those words don’t really apply here.
On the plus side, the EPA has finally introduced new emissions standards in recognition of the shift towards electrification of the heavy vehicle sector. The downside, however, is that the agency’s proposal doesn’t appear to spur that wave.
The agency just authorized enforcement of state standards to ensure more than 50% of new heavy-duty trucks sold in those states will be electric by 2032. Manufacturers claim they are targeting Electric truck sales target was even more positive, with plans to electrify more than half of new vehicles. Heavy truck sales in 2030 by Producer of we. And new buying incentives for commercial trucks are expected to boost electrification exceeds those goals (up to 50 percent by 2032), even without EPA action.
The EPA proposal falls short of these ongoing actions, with the preferred alternative promoting electrification by no more than 40%. There’s momentum to new all-electric heavy vehicles by 2035—for fleets, it’s critical that total cost of ownership and electrification can cut operating costs and emissions waste. Even the most stringent scenario in the proposal would not produce a viable transition to net zero emissions by 2035. If the EPA sets a more ambitious standard, that will help ensure levels necessary investments in infrastructure and production to meet this goal.
The biggest flaw in the proposal is that by focusing exclusively on regulating global warming emissions, the proposal sacrifices certainty in its efforts—while all modeling is subjective. speculative, this opens the possibility that instead of accelerating the transition to the necessary zero-emission solutions, the EPA’s rule will promote false solutions such as hydrogen combustion engines that will do nothing to reduce reduce exhaust pollution that harms local communities.
The proposals are a step in the right direction, but more is needed
Targeting a full transition to the electrification of new vehicles by 2035 will address our climate crisis, while recognizing and addressing the unjust burden borne by communities Today is the result of heavy trucks. This is an important window for action. The agency’s proposal may not guarantee such a transition for passenger cars and trucks, but it’s not even trying to encourage one in the freight sector: that has to change.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll continue to explore recommended rules for building support for that transition. There will be public hearings for the public to consider verbally, as well as through written testimony. It is important for EPA to listen to the real situation, to understand the living experiences of today and the opportunities for a cleaner and more sustainable transportation future for all of us.
UCS will focus on consolidating both proposals, urging the EPA to meet the timing and finalize light and heavy truck standards toward a zero-emissions future. And we will ask our supporters and partners to do the same. The opportunity to make a fair transition to zero-emissions has arrived—and we need government to seize it.