ICCT: U.S. EPA adopts rules to cut emissions from cars and trucks

Supported by focused efforts from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized two historic rules to slash emissions from the light-duty vehicle (LDV) and heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) sectors by a collective 8.2 gigatons by 2055, roughly equal to four years of U.S. transportation emissions. And, in collaboration with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, the EPA published a groundbreaking national infrastructure strategy to support 100 percent zero-emission trucks by 2040.

In March 2024, the EPA issued its final multi-pollutant emissions standards for model year 2027 and later light-duty and medium-duty vehicles. These standards will dramatically reduce emissions from new light- and medium-duty vehicles and send a clear signal that the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) will accelerate. The ICCT played a key role in the development of the standards, demonstrating that they are achievable, feasible, and cost effective. The ICCT delivered public comments, private briefings with EPA staff, and a presentation to the Office of Management and Budget. ICCT research was referenced in the final rule, including its U.S. EV cost analysis and an assessment of the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on EV uptake in partnership with Energy Innovation.

This rule is expected to result in a 53 percent light-duty sales share for plug-in EVs in 2030, rising to a 68 percent plug-in EV share in 2032, which is projected to reduce cumulative emissions by 7.2 Gt through 2055.

In addition to the light-duty rule, the EPA finalized Phase 3 GHG emission standards for HDVs. The new standards move the U.S. closer to achieving domestic and international climate goals by requiring manufacturers to deploy more efficient vehicles beginning in model year 2027. As a result, the transition to zero-emission trucks is more certain. The EPA estimates that the final Phase 3 regulations will reduce cumulative GHG emissions by 1 Gt CO2 from the HDV fleet by 2055. The ICCT supported this rule with an incredible amount of research, writing key papers that analyzed the impact of the IRA and identifying near-term infrastructure needs in the U.S.

Finally, the ICCT was especially influential in driving the new National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy announced on March 11, which outlines a plan for creating a 100 percent zero-emission heavy-duty charging and refueling network by 2040. To assist policymakers, ICCT produced the report Near-Term Infrastructure Deployment to Support Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles in the United States, demonstrating how the U.S. could meet emerging charging needs. This research was followed with detailed maps that specifically addressed how to meet the charging needs the new HDV GHG standards are projected to generate. A key Department of Energy official publicly credited ICCT with informing the final strategy, which will steer public and private investments to make sure infrastructure is ready at the right time and in the right places.

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