Climate Action

EPA Announces Its Strongest-Ever Pollution Standards to Fight the Climate Crisis

On April 14th, 2023, the head administrator of the EPA, Michael Regan announced the EPA’s newest and strongest-ever pollution standards for light, medium, and heavy-duty cars and trucks. The EPA’s new emissions standards aim to tackle the climate crisis at its root by helping the U.S. with the transition toward a clean transportation sector while also limiting the U.S.’s greenhouse gas emissions in order to help tackle climate change. 

A cornerstone of President Biden’s agenda is addressing the climate crisis and securing better economic and health benefits for the American people. Regan highlighted the importance of these emission standards in fulfilling the goals of the Biden administration by building on efforts already undertaken to transform the U.S.’ transportation industry into one that is clean and green. Additionally, these standards will create meaningful benefits for our climate and public health by reducing climate pollution as well as by providing economic benefits in the form of lower fuel and maintenance costs for families. 

According to the EPA, the proposed emissions standards for passenger cars will result in the evasion of 7.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions through 2055. This amount is equal to eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector for four years. This reduction in emissions will likely result in large health benefits for the public by limiting the number of hospital and emergency visits, lowering cases of asthma symptoms, and decreasing the amount of lost workdays and school absences

It is projected the new standards for heavy-duty trucks will avoid 1.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide through 2055, the equivalent to eliminating a year’s worth of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation industry. As a result, benefits will include improved air quality, especially for low-income and communities of color living near major roadways and highways who are disproportionately affected by air pollution. 

Together, these emission standards eliminate a total of almost 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions while saving consumers roughly $12,000 over the lifetime of a light-duty vehicle. These new emissions standards promote the acceleration and adoption of new technologies pushing the U.S. toward clean vehicle manufacturing. Since President Biden took office, the amount of electric vehicle, EV, sales has tripled. Now, with these new standards the U.S. would further encourage the shift toward EVs while also reducing oil imports by about 20 billion barrels. Several U.S. states and automakers have already shared their commitments in shifting to clean transportation through new developments and technology within the coming 10 to 15 years.

These new standards are coming at a critical time as climate change continues to wreak havoc on our planet. According to the IPCC, numerous weather and climatic extremes are already being impacted by human-caused climate change in every continent, resulting in rising temperatures, more severe weather conditions, as well as losses and harm to both nature and people. These new standards reflect steps the most recent steps the U.S. has taken towards Investing in Our Planet, bringing us closer toward our goal of a cleaner and healthier planet. Together, we can all work towards our collective future through the individual actions and investments we make towards ourselves, our economies, our communities, and overall toward our shared home, our Earth.