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Biden administration issues rule making more new heavy-duty trucks electric

The Biden administration on Friday finalized a rule that’s expected to make a greater share of the U.S. truck fleet electric. 

It’s difficult to say exactly what percentage of new heavy-duty truck sales could be expected to be electric under the rule, administration officials told reporters, noting that the rule deals with eight different classes of trucks. 

However, the share of the heaviest trucks’ sales that are electric would be expected to exceed 20 percent around 2040, officials said. 

The truck rules do not explicitly mandate a shift toward electric vehicles. Instead, they set average pollution limits for truck makers’ fleets that are expected to push them in the direction of electric and other lower-emitting technologies like hybrids. 

Like recently issued rules for passenger vehicles, the truck rule’s requirements were loosened for the earlier years of the program when compared to what would have been required under the proposed rule. This was done to allow for the development of new technology and allow for more charging infrastructure to be deployed. 

However, an EPA spokesperson said that the new rule is actually expected to deliver a slightly greater emissions cut than the proposed rule would have.

It is expected to prevent a billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2055. 

Transportation makes up around 27 percent of the U.S.’s planet-warming emissions, a quarter of which come from heavy duty trucks, the proposed version of the rule states — meaning heavy trucks make up around 7 percent of the nation’s emissions overall.

In addition, the rule is expected to reduce releases of other types of pollution, which officials said would benefit public health. 

“An estimated 72 million Americans, often people of color or people with lower incomes, live near freight truck routes,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. 

“These communities are disproportionately exposed to the pollution from heavy-duty vehicles, resulting in higher rates of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and even premature death,” he added. “Reducing emissions from our heavy-duty vehicles means cleaner air and less pollution.”

A trade group representing truck manufacturers expressed concerns about the rule.

“We are concerned that the final rule will end up being the most challenging, costly and potentially disruptive heavy-duty emissions rule in history,” said Jed Mandel, president of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, in a written statement. 

His group particularly raised concerns about the availability of charging infrastructure and also questioned whether customers would buy enough electric trucks to keep manufacturers in compliance. 

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