New pollution rules aim to boost sales of electric trucks – Business News (Trending Perfect)


The Biden administration on Friday announced a regulation aimed at boosting sales of electric cars or other heavy, zero-emission vehicles, from school buses to cement mixers, as part of its multi-front attack on global warming.

The EPA projects that the new rule could mean that 25% of new long-haul trucks, the heaviest on the road, and 40% of medium-sized trucks, such as box trucks and landscaping vehicles, could be non-polluting by 2032. Today, less More than 2 percent of new heavy-duty trucks sold in the United States fit this bill.

The regulation will apply to more than 100 types of vehicles including tractor trailers, ambulances, recreational vehicles, garbage trucks and moving trucks.

The rule does not mandate the sale of electric trucks or any other type of low- or zero-emission trucks. Instead, it incrementally limits the amount of pollution allowed from trucks across a manufacturer's production line over time, starting in model year 2027. It will be up to the manufacturer to decide how to comply. Options could include using technologies such as hybrid vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells, or dramatically increasing the fuel efficiency of conventional trucks.

The truck regulation follows another rule put in place last week that is designed to ensure that the majority of new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. are fully electric or hybrid by 2032, up from just 7.6 percent last year.

Together, the car and truck rules aim to cut carbon dioxide pollution from transportation, the nation's largest source of climate-changing fossil fuel emissions that helped make 2023 the hottest year in recorded history. Electric vehicles are a key component of President Biden's strategy to confront global warming, which calls for cutting the nation's emissions in half by the end of this decade.

Michael S. said: “Today, the Environmental Protection Agency takes another giant step forward to protect future generations from climate change,” said D. Reagan, agency administrator.

Heavy trucks are essential for transporting goods across the country, but the pollution they generate not only leads to climate change, but also worsens air quality in many communities, Mr. Reagan noted. New restrictions on truck tailpipe emissions, as well as other regulations, mean “we are tackling public health challenges head on,” Mr. Regan said.

The agency said switching to cleaner trucks will help reduce emissions of soot and other pollutants that affect about 72 million people who live near freight truck routes in the United States. Studies have shown that those affected are disproportionately low-income people and people of color.

“Exposure to traffic-related pollution poses a serious health risk to those who live in communities with heavy truck traffic,” Harold Weimer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, said in a statement. Air pollution has been linked to a range of health effects, including poor birth outcomes, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as premature death.

Truck exhaust limits are expected to prevent about 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2055, equivalent to the annual emissions from burning gasoline transported by more than 13 million tanker trucks, according to the EPA. The agency estimates that by 2055, it will provide an average of $13 billion in annual net benefits to society related to public health, climate and fuel savings for truck owners and operators.

Although all-electric passenger cars still represent a small segment of the U.S. auto market, they are no longer a niche product. With electric vehicle prices falling and making some models competitive with conventional cars, a record 1.2 million electric passenger cars rolled off dealer lots last year.

The same cannot be said for electric trucks, and their widespread adoption appears to be in the offing. Today, electric trucks can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, two or three times the sticker price of a diesel truck, although prices may fall as production expands, and owners may enjoy fuel savings and lower maintenance costs. An electric truck requires a large, heavy battery that reduces the amount of payload the vehicle can transport. Electric trucks also require very powerful chargers. Utilities may need to upgrade distribution lines, transformers and other equipment to provide the power needed to fuel several trucks at once.

While there are nearly 200,000 public chargers for passenger electric vehicles, there are only 5,000 charging stations in the U.S. capable of serving heavy-duty trucks, according to the Truck and Motor Manufacturers Association, which represents companies that build and manufacture equipment for heavy-duty trucks. Work trucks. Of these, there are only nine public fast-charging stations capable of serving heavy trucks, according to the Department of Energy. The rest is privately owned in warehouses and depots. The Truck Manufacturers Association estimates that a mix of 1 million public and private chargers will be needed to service the number of electric trucks set out in the Truck Regulations.

“If the infrastructure is not in place, customers simply will not be able to operate zero-emission vehicles,” said Jed Mandel, president of the association. His organization includes the country's three largest truck manufacturers – Daimler Trucks, which owns Freightliner; Volvo Trucks; and Traton, a unit of Volkswagen that owns Navistar. These companies have aggressively lobbied the EPA to relax some requirements in the final version of the regulation.

The agency made some concessions. It relaxed the pace at which truck manufacturers adhered to this rule in its early years, and did not intensify it sharply until after 2030.

On Wednesday, manufacturers offered a muted response to the rule. John Mace, a spokesman for Volvo Group North America, said in a statement that his company is “fully aligned with the EPA's goal of accelerating the transition to zero-emission vehicles.” He said the final regulation was “more realistic than originally proposed.”

Customers will buy vehicles only if they are confident they can be easily charged, Mr. Mace said, something the Biden administration cannot guarantee.

“This is an ambitious goal, and there will be challenges in our industry to reach it,” said John Mills, a spokesman for Cummins, an Indiana-based company that makes conventional truck engines and has begun manufacturing electric versions. He said Cummins is “uniquely positioned” to develop and manufacture a wide range of technologies.

But truck drivers are afraid. “This administration seems intent on regulating every local small business out of existence with a wave of unenforceable environmental mandates,” said Todd Spencer, president of the Independent Owner-Operator Association, which represents truck drivers.

Mike Nichols, a truck driver in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, who owns an eighteen-wheeler that hauls rice, sugar and grains, said he would never buy an all-electric truck, even with the help of generous government subsidies. “They can't transport with the weight,” he said. “They can't do the same amount of work.”

Mr. Nichols doubts that enough charging stations will be built to support long-haul truckers. He said that while he spends about $50,000 a year on diesel fuel, he envisions the cost of electricity needed to charge a heavy electric vehicle battery could equal or even exceed that in some cases.

“Their ambitions may be laudable, but they haven't thought this through carefully,” he said of the new rule.

Former President Donald J. Trump, who is running to reclaim the White House, has repeatedly attacked Mr. Biden's policies designed to accelerate the transition to all-electric passenger cars. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the truck list.

But Republicans on Capitol Hill said they would introduce legislation to try to remove the new rule. “Biden’s electric vehicle mandates are bogus,” Senators Pete Ricketts of Nebraska and Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Representatives John James of Michigan and Ross Fulcher of Idaho said in a statement. American consumers and workers will pay the price for his administration's attempt to eliminate internal combustion engines.

Experts say tougher truck exhaust limits are possible. “This will get more electric trucks on the road, but it will also get more fuel-efficient conventional diesel trucks,” said Ray Minjares, director of heavy vehicle programs at the International Council on Clean Transportation, a research organization. Which works closely with the EPA to develop the policy. “It is not intended to electrify all heavy trucks.”

The rule aims to impose the largest shift on short-distance vehicles, such as school buses, city buses, garbage trucks, and moving vans — vehicles that travel less than 250 miles a day and return to the same place each night where they can recharge. Mr. Minjares said. At least two-thirds of heavy-duty truck trips are less than 250 miles, which is within the range of electric trucks available today, according to Calstart, a nonprofit group whose members work in industry as well as government.

“It has seemed difficult to move goods in a less polluting way, but now for the first time there are solutions within reach,” said Albert Gore III, director of the Zero Emissions Transportation Association and Al. Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Prize-winning climate activist. “It's a very solvable problem.”

California and 10 other states have enacted regulations even more ambitious than the EPA rule. These states require that half of new heavy-duty vehicles sold be fully electric by 2035.

Companies with truck fleets are starting to invest in electric models. Frito-Lay operates 15 all-electric 18-wheel semi trucks, made by Tesla, from a warehouse in Modesto, Calif., making daily trips to deliver Doritos, Lays and other snacks to warehouses and then returning each night to ship.

4 Gen Logistics, a trucking company based in Rialto, California, has 70 zero-emission trucks made by Volvo Trucks, Kenworth, BYD and Nikola. “Some of these trucks only drive 50 miles a day,” said David Thornburg, a contractor who helped 4 Gen create a zero-emission fleet.

The company, which moves containers from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to warehouses elsewhere in Southern California, plans to phase out its remaining 20 diesel trucks next year. Electric trucks are usually charged overnight at 4 public depots.

However, Mr. Thornberg noted that installing chargers is expensive and time-consuming. “Some of this equipment has a one-year lead time,” he said. “It's not something you can pull off the shelf.”

Businesses may be eligible for federal subsidies. The bipartisan Infrastructure Act of 2021 provides $7.5 billion for electric charging infrastructure, including heavy-duty truck charging stations, and $5.6 billion to help fund zero- and low-emission buses. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides $1 billion for electric trucks, including tax breaks of up to $40,000 for companies that buy them, as well as subsidies for charging infrastructure. Earlier this month, the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation announced a strategy to prioritize the construction of heavy-duty electric truck chargers in “zero-emission charging corridors.”

Mr Thornburgh said government assistance was essential, especially for small businesses. “These are $10 million sites,” Mr. Thornburgh said. “It is very difficult to allocate this capital without help from others.”

“If you're a trucking company, it's hard to stay afloat,” he said.



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