EPA finalizes 2028 day cab, 2029 mixer, dump model emissions standards

Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CP staff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims avoidance of 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions and $13 billion in net annual benefits to society attributable to GHG Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles – Phase 3, a final rule released just ahead of the Easter holiday weekend. If they clear near-certain legal challenges, the agency’s new Class 8 truck emissions thresholds, measured against Phase 2 targets, will equate to CO2 emissions reduction levels of a) 8-40 percent for 2028-2032 model year day cabs typically paired with bulk cement tanker and construction material or product trailers; and, b) 13-30 percent for heavy-duty vocational models spec’ed for concrete mixers and aggregate dumps. When Phase 3 standards are fully realized, EPA estimates that a 2032 model year heavy-duty truck customer could save $3,700-$10,500 on fuel and maintenance costs annually.

Along with the EPA Heavy-Duty Phase 3 standards rollout, Daimler Truck North America reiterated its goal of offering carbon-neutral vehicles exclusively by 2039 and, in the interim, models like the Freightliner SD-Plus so “customers can transition to greener transportation on the road ahead.” 

The standards build on and maintain the Heavy-Duty Phase 2 program’s flexible structure, which is designed to reflect the diverse nature of the heavy-duty vehicle industry, the agency contends. EPA bills Phase 3 guidelines as “technology-neutral and performance-based, allowing each manufacturer to choose what set of emissions control technologies is best suited for them and the needs of their customers[:] advanced internal combustion engine, hybrid, plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”

While the final rule includes lower zero-emission vehicle rates for model years 2027-2029, the American Trucking Associations sees forced zero-emission vehicle penetration rates in the later Phase 3 years driving only battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell investment for truck power— limiting fleets’ choices with early-stage technology that is still unproven. “The post-2030 targets remain entirely unachievable given the current state of zero-emission technology, lack of charging infrastructure and restrictions on the power grid,” says ATA CEO Chris Spear. “Given the wide range of operations required of our industry to keep the economy running, a successful emission regulation cannot be one-size-fits-all. Any regulation that fails to account for the operational realities of trucking will set the industry and America’s supply chain up for failure. The trucking industry is fully committed to the road to zero emissions, but the path to get there must be paved with commonsense.” 

EPA will consult with a wide range of stakeholders on an ongoing basis to learn from their experiences and gather relevant information and data surrounding Phase 3 implementation. In addition to ATA and peer fleet or owner-operator groups, stakeholders will include heavy-duty manufacturers; investor-owned or public utilities and electricity cooperatives; plus, battery electric vehicle charging infrastructure providers and installers. In consultation with other agencies, beginning as early as 2026, EPA will issue periodic reports reflecting the collected information throughout the lead-up to and during the implementation of the Phase 3 standards.

The agency may decide to issue guidance documents, initiate a future rulemaking to consider modifications to the Phase 3 rule, or make no changes to the program.

Related articles
Edge Materials, Cummins, PCCH2, spec hydrogen-fueled mixer
Terex Advance, Navistar wire all-electric Mini-Mix model