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Commentary: EPA proposal ignores truckers’ concerns, OOIDA says

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line Media

(IBJ File Photo)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Phase 3 proposal fails to consider the real-life concerns relayed by the nation’s truck drivers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said.

In official comments filed to the EPA on June 16, OOIDA outlined issues related to costs, the timeline, safety concerns and operational problems.

“This latest EPA emission proposal once against discounts the contributions of our nation’s truckers,” OOIDA wrote in comments signed by President Todd Spencer. “EPA must consider a more achievable implementation timeline that would provide reliable and affordable heavy-duty vehicles for consumers, particularly small trucking businesses and individual owner-operators. This can be accomplished through an approach that protects consumer choice.”

In April, the Biden administration announced the Greenhouse Gas Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles Phase 3 proposal that would require 25% of new heavy trucks sold in the United States to be all-electric by 2032. The comment period on EPA’s notice of proposed rulemaking ended June 16.


OOIDA told the EPA that many of the federal and state regulations aimed at reducing vehicle emission have led to increased costs for small-business truckers.

“Newer trucks that incorporate more complex technology and components typically can only be serviced at dealerships, where charges can run hundreds of dollars per hour simply to inspect the engine or perform other routine work,” OOIDA wrote.

A model year 2032 long-haul sleeper-cab tractor is estimated to cost about $15,000 more.

“In some cases, these costs can limit the environmental benefits of the regulations by forcing truckers to maintain older vehicles longer than they otherwise would or compelling motor carriers to purchase used vehicles instead,” OOIDA wrote.


Weight limits of tractor-trailers can lead to damage to roads and bridges, and OOIDA cited reports that suggests some electric truck batteries could weigh up to 16,000 pounds.

“Battery electric vehicles with heavier weights will displace payload capacity and require more trucks on the road,” OOIDA wrote. “On the other hand, permitting higher weight allowances would shift freight from other modes onto American highways, worsening congestion rather than helping to alleviate it.”

The Association also noted concerns regarding battery electric vehicle fires.

“Lithium-battery fires can be unpredictable, difficult to extinguish and can inflict a tragic toll,” OOIDA wrote. “According to experts, (battery-electric vehicle) fires require different firefighting techniques. The biggest difference is that a (battery-electric vehicle) fire cannot be put out with the type of firefighting foam used to smother other fires.”

Operational challenges of EPA proposal

OOIDA said that its members are skeptical about high-mileage charging capabilities as well as to the U.S. having enough access to commercial charging stations.

“OOIDA members routinely make trips over 1,000 miles and can rely upon a nationwide network of truck stops and other locations to fill up on gas whenever and wherever they need to refuel their tank,” the Association wrote. There are numerous unanswered questions about a nationwide (battery-electric vehicle) charging network will be implemented, and it’s difficult to estimate when such a network would be readily accessible for commercial motor vehicle drivers. Therefore, we question EPA’s proposed (battery-electric vehicle) productions timelines with a reliable charging infrastructure in place.”

In addition to questions about feasibility, OOIDA also called out potential overreach by the EPA.

“As recently as June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that EPA actions like the Phase 3 rule violate the major questions doctrine involving the principles of separation of powers and understanding legislative intent because they clearly exceed the power provided to the EPA by Congress in the Clean Air Act.” LL


[EDITOR’S NOTE: Published content provided by OOIDA Communications]

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