The Obama administration is allowing trucking companies to buy their way out of a strict set of environmental regulations heaped on the trucking industry.
The Environmental Protection Agency, with the help of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), announced Tuesday changes to fuel emission standards for work trucks, vans and over-the-road semi-trucks under the guise of fighting global warming.
Tucked deep inside the rulebook are a series of complicated stipulations allowing the U.S.’ trucking companies to pay fines if they are unable to comply with the regulators’ increasingly complicated rules.
The new standards will affect engine performance standards for truck model years 2018-2027, and for semi-trucks, large pickup trucks, vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks.
The EPA and NHTSA said the new regulations will also lower carbon emission levels by 1.1 billion metric tons, save vehicle owners $170 billion, and ratchet down oil consumption by two billion barrels over a vehicle’s lifetime.
The costs vary based on the type of truck and its size. The price for a big rig will likely climb well above today’s prices, increasing by as much as $15,100 within the next decade, according to analysis by the Washington Examiner. That’s an increase of about $1,000 per truck from the original proposal.
Daniel Simmons, vice president for policy at the Institute Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in July that the EPA’s decision is not surprising. The Obama administration is purposely attempting to hurt the automotive industry, he said.
“The Ford F-150 is the most popular vehicle on the market to date,” Simmons said. “Ford has spent more than $1 billion to get the truck into compliance, yet it is still not in full compliance. So it’s ridiculous to believe that car companies not named Ford will be able to meet new, more stringent standards.”
Ford’s F-150 Series accounts for 31 percent of the company’s North American sales and half of its profit in the region, compounding the problem, Barclays analyst Brian Johnson told Bloomberg in June.
The EPA says manufacturers and truck makers unable to come into compliance are called “laggards,” mostly because of their inability to institute the type of technology needed to follow the rules.
“Such ‘technology-forcing’ standards create the risk that one or more manufacturers may lag behind in the development of their technology to meet the standard and, thus, be forced out of the marketplace,” the EPA said in the final rule.
Congress recognized the problem and enacted changes requiring the EPA to establish the special penalties “to protect these technological laggards by allowing them to pay a penalty for engines that temporarily are unable to meet the applicable emission standard, while removing any competitive advantage those technological laggards may have.”