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Biden Goes After Trucks

On Friday, the Biden administration unveiled a new regulation aimed at significantly increasing the number of electric vehicles (EVs) within the U.S. heavy-duty truck fleet. While the exact impact of the rule on the electrification of new heavy-duty trucks remains uncertain, officials anticipate a notable shift towards electric models across various truck categories.

Officials project that by 2040, over 20% of the sales for the heaviest truck categories could be electric. The regulation outlines potential outcomes for different truck classes, suggesting that by 2032, up to 60% of lighter heavy-duty trucks, 40% of medium heavy-duty trucks, and 30% of the heaviest trucks might be powered by electricity.

Rather than directly mandating a transition to electric vehicles, the new rules set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establish average emission limits for manufacturers’ fleets. These standards are designed to encourage the adoption of electric and other low-emission technologies, including hybrid vehicles.

The EPA’s regulation also considers an alternative scenario where the industry meets emission targets through a combination of hybrid, natural gas, and hydrogen-powered trucks, without a significant increase in electric truck sales.

This approach to regulating heavy-duty trucks mirrors recent policies applied to passenger vehicles, where initial requirements were moderated to accommodate technological development and the expansion of charging infrastructure. This strategic adjustment aims to facilitate a smoother transition towards cleaner transportation options, aligning with broader environmental goals.