Federal EPA Mandates More Fuel-Efficient Heavy-Duty Vehicles

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized stringent new pollution standards for heavy-duty vehicles, including those used for municipal vehicles. Designed to promote the production and sale of electric and hybrid heavy-duty vehicles, the new standards will take effect gradually for some classes of vehicles as early as 2027, with full implementation for all classes by 2032. EPA claims that the standards are technology-neutral and performance-based, allowing each manufacturer choose what set of emissions control technologies is best suited for them and the needs of their customers. The final rule will take effect after publication in the Federal Register. 

 The EPA expects the new standards to be met with a diverse range of heavy-duty vehicle technologies, including advanced internal combustion engine vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The estimated reduction from CO2 emission standards by 2032 is projected to be as high as 60% for light-heavy vocational, 40% for medium-heavy vocational, and 30% for heavy-heavy vocational.   

What does this mean for townships? As of 2027, expect to see more options for hybrids and electric trucks, particularly for light-heavy and medium-heavy trucks and by 2032, very few options for combustion engines in these classes. Standards for heavy-heavy trucks will begin in 2029, with full implementation by 2032.   

 In addition, liquid fuels funds are derived exclusively from sales of gasoline and diesel fuel in Pennsylvania. Past experience shows that greater fuel efficiency standards will lead to less gasoline and diesel fuel purchased and less total liquid fuels funds available unless and until the state legislature acts to reform how Pennsylvania funds its transportation system and ensures that all road users pay their fair share, now and in the future.     

PSATS will continue to advocate for the commonwealth to maintain a predictable and reliable funding method for the state and local governments to properly maintain a sound and competitive road and bridge system that is critical to our residents’ quality of life while providing the means for the state to compete in today’s economy. View PSATS Transportation Policy Statement to learn more about PSATS’ positions on transportation issues.   

Editorial note from Executive Director: Perhaps we should have more appropriately titled this entry as  “More Mandates-Less Money”. 
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