Truckers are staging protests against the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations under the Biden administration, contending that these regulations will adversely impact their businesses.
The EPA introduced new emission standards earlier this year, effective as of March 27th, but they will apply to newly sold trucks starting in 2027. These standards are notably more stringent and encompass a broader range of heavy-duty engine operating conditions compared to the current standards. Truckers are voicing concerns that these new regulations will put a strain on their operations and that complying with them would be financially burdensome.
According to JKC Trucking Vice President Mike Kucharski, a brand-new clean diesel long haul tractor typically costs between $180,000 and $200,000, whereas a comparable battery electric tractor can cost upwards of $480,000, representing a substantial $300,000 cost increase that is unaffordable for the majority of motor carriers.
Kucharski emphasized that this mandate relies on brand-new technology and prioritizes green energy over economic considerations. He expressed support for green energy but found the new mandate frustrating, as it piles additional regulations onto truckers.
The impact of these compliant vehicles will be especially severe for the trucking industry, given that 95% of trucking companies are small businesses operating no more than 10 trucks. Many of these smaller companies may struggle to cope with the substantial cost increase.
Todd Spencer, President of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, echoed Kucharski’s sentiments, characterizing the new standards as part of a broader regulatory onslaught on small-business truckers. Spencer argued that this latest development aims to push consumers towards electric vehicles, despite the absence of a national charging infrastructure network for heavy-duty commercial trucks. He pointed out that professional drivers have reservations about electric vehicle costs, mileage range, battery weight and safety, charging availability, and charging time.
Spencer further questioned the EPA’s prioritization of aggressive emission timelines over addressing the practical concerns associated with electric commercial motor vehicles, and he expressed concerns that these regulations, combined with anticipated speed limit mandates, could force some of the safest and most experienced truckers out of the industry.
Kucharski emphasized that the technology for electric trucks is currently impractical, with reality lagging behind the ambitious goals of the technology.
Source: Washington Examiner