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Federal Emissions Regulation Information

Quick Facts: 

The trucking industry has made massive strides in reducing tailpipe emissions over the past 35 years thanks to innovation and achievable regulatory targets and timelines:

✅We’ve cut harmful NOx and particulate matter emissions by 99%.

✅We’ve eliminated virtually all sulfur-dioxide emissions.

✅Between 2014 and 2027, we stand to cut 1.37 billion metric tons of CO2.

✅ 47% of the trucks in our nation’s fleet are pre-2010 models. In California, 53% of trucks are pre-2010.

The problem? Not nearly enough of these newer and cleaner trucks are on the road today because of a century-old federal excise tax (FET) on heavy-duty trucks that penalizes trucking companies for upgrading their equipment.

Why it matters: 2010 marked a major milestone in truck engine technology with the standardization of selective catalytic reduction and diesel particulate filters. A truck sold in 2006 emits roughly 10 times the amount of NOx and particulate matter as a truck sold today.

Solution: By removing the FET that disincentives the purchase of today’s clean trucks, Congress can dramatically accelerate the turnover of our nation’s truck fleet and take a big bite out of freight emissions and our nation’s carbon footprint. At 12%, the FET is the steepest excise tax on any good across the entire economy today.

📈 The FET adds approximately $20,400 to the price tag of a $170,000 new-generation, clean-diesel tractor.

📈For a $425,000 zero-emission battery-electric tractor – which is already a cost-prohibitive price point for most     fleets – the FET tacks on an extra $51,000 in cost.

Even if carriers want to replace their existing fleet with today's clean trucks, most simply can't afford to at that rate –  especially when factoring the inflationary pressures of the last few years. Remember that 96% of U.S. trucking companies are small businesses operating 10 trucks or fewer.

Many emerging technologies hold promise, including and certainly not limited to battery-electric trucks. But before widespread battery-electric adoption is physically possible, there are enormous infrastructure, product sourcing and power generation requirements that must first be met.

Congress can immediately advance a solution via the Modern, Clean and Safe Trucks Act (H.R. 1440 and S. 694). This bipartisan legislation before Congress would unlock environmental gains made possible by existing technology already available today while helping cost parity concerns associated with costlier zero-emission trucks.


July 7, 2023 - ATA CEO statement on CARB Clean Truck Partnership

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement about the California Air Resources Board’s new Clean Truck Partnership:

“We’ve long advocated for a single, national standard that respects and preserves interstate commerce. However, the trucking industry shouldn’t be strong armed by the government into an agreement with such terms.

“Our association represents motor carrier members – the paying customers who will inherit the costs of this agreement – and we will not roll over nor relinquish our right to litigate with any party when our interests are threatened. It is clear that America has lost its way when the government bullies the private sector to succumb to unachievable timelines, targets and technologies.”


June 20, 2023 - ATA Outlines Principles for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

"EPA is moving at breakneck speed to force the industry towards electrification while failing to address the key enablers towards any new technology adoption. EPA’s proposed adoption rates assumes that product availability, vehicle costs, range, weight reduction, energy capacity and recharging and refueling infrastructure will all be available for fleets to utilize the technology,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "Instead of the agency leap frogging existing low-carbon technologies towards electrification, allow today’s technologies to be fully adopted.”

In comments to the EPA on the agency's Phase 3 Greenhouse Gas Standards, ATA identifies several significant flaws that must be corrected before the agency issues final rules: 

  •          First, the proposal reneges on commitments and timelines EPA made in Phase 2 of the standards, upending the plans and schedules for both equipment makers and purchasers.
  •          Second, the proposal’s aggressive timelines – with new standards coming into play annually after 2027 – rush early-stage technologies to the marketplace without sufficient testing and validation
  •          Third, the rule bets so heavily on electric and hydrogen vehicles – technology that has yet to be fully vetted and proven in the commercial freight environment – so as to pick winners, providing no flexibility for fleets to reduce emissions with existing solutions.
  •          Finally, the rule does not take into account the lack of infrastructure to fuel and charge these new vehicles – infrastructure that is critical to maintaining our supply chain.

To Read ATA's full comments, click here. 

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