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EPA’s new emission standards would boost heavy truck equipment costs

Sleeper cab cost difference over combustion engines would be $14,712 in 2032, agency estimates

New Phase 3 GHG standards would boost costs for trucking companies and owner-operators. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration’s newly unveiled standards aimed at drastically reducing carbon emissions from heavy trucks would boost equipment costs for manufacturers, fleets and owner-operators.

In a 635 page rule released on Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new greenhouse gas standards for heavy trucks would begin in model year (MY) 2028 and extend to MY 2032, and would govern a range of truck sizes from delivery trucks and dump trucks to freight-hauling day-cab and sleeper-cab trucks.

The new rule for trucks are the third phase of carbon dioxide emission standards that began during the Obama administration. They would also reopen for revisions the GHG standards for the 2027 model year that were established under EPA’s Phase 2 rule in 2016.

In addition, the agency is proposing to add warranty requirements for batteries and other components of zero-emission vehicles as well as revisions to certain test procedures for heavy-duty engines.

EPA notes that the proposed rule does not mandate a specific technology to meet the new standards, and that EPA “anticipates that a compliant fleet under the proposed standards would include a diverse range of technologies (e.g., transmission technologies, aerodynamic improvements, engine technologies, battery electric powertrains, hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, etc.)”

It also points out that in 2022, “there were a number of manufacturers producing fully electric heavy duty vehicles for use in a number of applications, and these small volumes are expected to rise.”

The agency estimates the new standards will cost truck manufacturers $9 billion before considering the battery tax credits that were included in the Inflation Reduction Act. Including those credits reduces the compliance cost to manufacturers to $5.7 billion.

For MY 2032, EPA estimates the upfront cost difference — including tax credits — between the retail price for an electric truck and one with an internal combustion engine at $582 for a short-haul day-cab tractor. That difference jumps to $14,712 for a long-haul sleeper-cab tractor.

“The incremental upfront costs (after the tax credits) are recovered through operational savings such that pay back occurs after three years for short-haul tractors and after seven years on average for long-haul tractors,” according to EPA.

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said that while the standards are directed at truck manufacturers, the purchasing decisions of their customers “will ultimately determine their level of success.”

“As we review the proposed rule, ATA will remain engaged in the regulatory process to ensure the agency arrives at a regulation that has realistic equipment adoption timelines, is technologically feasible, and will not cause additional inflationary pressures if finalized,” Spear stated.

He also said he was “extremely disappointed” that the Biden administration is reopening the Phase 2 regulation.

“To make the plans and investments necessary for a successful transition, our industry needs regulatory certainty — not whimsical changes of mind from year to year. If EPA wants us to remain a willing participant, their going back and changing what was already agreed upon is not how to do it.”

Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, called it “baffling” that Biden’s EPA is moving on tighter emissions timelines without first addressing cost issues, mileage range, battery weight, charging time, and the lack of an electric charging infrastructure for trucks.

“The pursuit of this radical environmental agenda in conjunction with an anticipated speed limiter mandate will regulate the safest and most experienced truckers off the road,” Spencer said.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.


  1. Jack

    I like clean air, I like not smelling exhaust, I don’t like economic collapse because there are no more truck drivers on the road, we STILL have supply chain issues thanks to the lockdowns, I love how some unelected government agency can dictate law, I didn’t vote for the EPA, I don’t remember the EPA brining up the laws in the house, or being voted on.

  2. Arthur G Wilson

    Enough all ready the EPA is out of control we need to shut this country down so the government learns to stay out of our business I work on this junk and it is nothing but a pain

  3. Frankoh

    Also the ATA does NOT address or speak for the trucking industry. Chris Spear representing what’s wrong with America he’s a corporate lobbyist. Pushed $$ for the Iraq war and continues to create policy for anyone with a checkbook. Hyundai folks. Proud American of Wyoming bought and paid off by the Koreans to build cars now concerned about trucking after years in the bush admin

  4. ThaGearJammer

    I understand the weather is getting unpredictable but what about reduce reuse recycle? Going to have acres of junk yards filled with trucks because of emissions standards? Plastic and metals mined and manufactured wasted as resources get scarce. They expect to regulate us out of this issue? The solution is multifaceted measures spurring innovation and creativity.

  5. Rash trucking inc.

    A new truck is 250-270,000
    And they want to tack on another 15 grand
    Do you know how many times I can rebuild an older truck
    Hell I can build a fleet for the cost of 2 new ones
    People pushing this need to open their eyes
    Look around at all the old Iron being put back on the road
    This is just plain stupid
    New truck 250,000
    Old truck paid for making bank because the people with new equipment have to drive rates up to break even
    Guys with old equipment sit back and laugh
    New is pricing itself out of the market

  6. Keith Gilman

    This is a bunch tree huggers trying to coast the public a lot of extra cost if thy put the electric cars in the cities it would cut the green house gas in half the that would help a lot. The electric vehicles won’t survive the road wear

  7. Victor

    Operational savings being recouped on a long haul sleeper occurs after 7 years??? Yeah, that totally makes it worth it to go in debt again. Remember how long it took the last round of emissions upgrades to get all the bugs ironed out? 8 years…..from 2008-2016. Here we go again. It’s all well and good to mandate longer warranties but that never covers your downtime/lost revenue. And when a lack of spare parts can last for weeks, you can go bankrupt from one breakdown.

    Add in that there’s already an attack on using hydrogen as fuel and the problem gets worse. Too much hydrogen used can overload hydroxides in the air is what some scientists are claiming. But what do you expect from the crowd that wants renewable energy sources and then gripes that wind turbines in northern Norway kill reindeer and violate the rights of the indigenous tribes of the area?

  8. Thisisgettingoutofhand

    F.E.T tax alone is already ridiculous.
    Truck MSRP is like $140k after taxes and F.E.T it comes out to totaling $196k as it is.
    couple that with a $50k dry van, and registration alone you are looking at $250k to get a OTR truck & trailer.
    Assuming you put %20 down, with %8 interest rates your payments are looking to be @ $4000 monthly + Insurance + IFTA + Express Highway Tax + State + Fed + Arm + Legg + Leftnut.

    Truckers are the only workers that get taxed 5x on “road tax”.

Comments are closed.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.