Skip to content

EPA emissions proposal includes stricter limits for pickups, heavy-duty vehicles  



Fewer vehicles essential to farmers and the ag industry, like pickup trucks and freight haulers, would be powered by internal combustion engines over the next 10 years under a set of proposals introduced April 12.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed stricter vehicle emission limits that would mandate up to two-thirds of new U.S. models be electric by 2032. Half of heavy-duty vehicles sold would need to be “zero emission.”

EPA’s rule would establish tailpipe emission standards for the 2027 through 2032 model years of light- and medium-duty vehicles, such as passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs.

EPA also proposed a separate emissions rule for the 2027 through 2032 model years of heavy-duty “vocational” vehicles, like garbage trucks and school buses, as well as tractor-trailer trucks used for hauling freight.

That rule would require up to 50% of heavy-duty vocational vehicles and up to 25% of long-haul tractor-trailer trucks be “zero-emission” by 2032.

Taken together, the proposed regulations represent the strictest limits ever proposed by EPA.

They also serve as a mechanism to fulfill President Joe Biden’s promise to cut in half U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and are backed by tax credits contained in the Inflation Reduction Act.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan in a statement called the proposed rules the “most ambitious pollution standards ever.”

Asked later at a news conference if the rules would effectively jeopardize the future of internal-combustion engine manufacturing, Regan said they instead “create a conversation” around alternative fuel technologies and give the auto industry “options to choose from.”

“We’re not prescribing mandates, and we’re not driving any particular technology out of business, so to speak,” Regan said.

That perspective largely contrasts with liquid fuel advocates, who said the proposed rules ignore advancements made in lowering the carbon emissions of renewable fuels, like biodiesel or gasoline blended with ethanol.

“As this administration’s own research shows, high-octane, low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol can immediately deliver dramatic improvements in fuel efficiency and carbon performance when paired with the right engine technologies,” Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said in a statement.

“But today’s EPA proposal unfortunately ignores the ethanol opportunity and instead declares EVs as the winner, despite mounting evidence that a headlong rush into electrification could lead to a host of unintended environmental and economic consequences,” Cooper said.

EPA is also facing doubts that its proposals are over-projecting the number of sales of electric vehicles and zero-emission vehicles expected by 2032.

The agency in its proposal for light- and medium-duty vehicles said it estimates at least 60% of new passenger vehicles sold in America would be electric by 2030 and up to 67% by 2032. Sales of new electric medium-duty trucks, the agency projects, would reach 46% by 2032.

In 2022, sales of electric vehicles made up only 5.8% of total new vehicle sales in the U.S., although they did account for 7.2% of sales in the first quarter of 2023.

EPA further expects the proposed rules for light-duty vehicles to result in a 56% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to model year 2026, and for medium-duty vehicles to result in a 44% reduction.

Those proposals, combined with the proposals for heavy-duty vehicles, would together avoid the release of 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions through 2055 and reduce U.S. usage of oil imports by 20 billion barrels, according to the agency.

This story was distributed through a cooperative project between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association. For more food and farming news, visit

Leave a Comment