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Consumer Reports: New clean-air standards for heavy-duty vehicles are a big first step to make big rigs cleaner

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The Environmental Protection Agency today unveiled new clean-air standards to reduce pollution from heavy-duty vehicles, such as tractor-trailer rigs, buses and large delivery trucks. The rule will require a significant reduction in the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from these vehicles. It also includes improvements to testing requirements to ensure that these emissions savings are delivered under all driving conditions, and over the lifetime of the vehicles and not just when they leave the factory. 


Consumer Reports, the nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, testified before EPA earlier this year in support of strong standards, and it submitted formal recommendations for EPA to improve its initial proposal. This rule is the first part of EPA’s three-part plan to reduce smog, soot, and climate pollution from America’s roadways. EPA announced that they plan to release new greenhouse gas standards for heavy duty vehicles and new muti-pollutant standards for light and medium duty vehicles by March 2023. 


Chris Harto, Consumer Reports’ senior policy analyst for transportation and energy, said, “It’s a big first step to clean up dirty diesel rigs.  Heavy-duty vehicles only make up a small percentage of the traffic on our roads, but their emissions have an oversized impact on public health and the environment. It’s especially encouraging news for people who live near heavily-congested roadways and industry, who have been hit hard by poor air quality.”


Harto added: “This initial action is promising, and we’re really looking forward to seeing next year’s standards for greenhouse gas emissions.  Those will be critical to driving the electrification of heavy-duty fleets in the U.S.”


Consumer Reports has been investigating the impact of the growing number of large ecommerce warehouses on air quality and traffic.  A year ago, CR reported that some residents near new Amazon warehouses said they faced increased air pollution from trucks and vans, clogged traffic, near-constant noise and other quality-of-life issues.  CR found that Amazon was opening most of its warehouses in neighborhoods with a disproportionately high number of people of color and low-income residents.  CR and The Guardian are now working with residents in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood to monitor air quality and traffic near new Amazon facilities.



Contact: David Butler, david.butler@consumer.org