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New EPA Rules Put the United States on the Road to Decarbonized Transportation

Since 1970, April 22 has been known as Earth Day. This annual event, initially a call to clean up a polluted environment, is now focused on the existential threat to humankind: climate change.

In an effort to avert the worst impacts of climate change, the Biden administration has taken the single largest step in U.S. history to slash greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, by setting strong emission standards for cars and heavy-duty trucks. Transportation is the single largest source of GHG pollution in the U.S. and a significant source of smog. These new rules will slash toxic diesel pollution, save money at the pump, and drive a more innovative, competitive U.S. auto industry. 

Just how big a deal is this? Taken together, the new standards will prevent 8.2 billion metric tons of CO2 from going up into the air through 2055, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which is roughly the equivalent of taking every single gas powerplant in the country offline for over a decade. These standards will also save consumers on average over $6,000 in fuel costs over the life of a new vehicle (and significantly more for those driving heavy duty trucks). The new standards will reduce by 95 percent the amount of dirty soot and other particulates that come out of the tailpipe, preventing thousands of premature deaths due to poor air quality. This is great news for the tens of millions of people who live along the U.S. freight and high-traffic interstate corridors, and are exposed to toxic diesel pollution and car exhaust. 

Many of our grantees––including members of the Route Zero Coalition, the International Council on Clean Transportation, the Environmental Defense Fund, Greenlatinos, and the Natural Resources Defense Council––have been working tirelessly to make these safeguards happen for years now. We are proud to see their efforts materialize in these rules that are crucial for public health, jobs, and our economy. The oil and gas industry has already vowed to fight them, so now the focus turns to defending these rules, and continuing to show all the ways zero emissions vehicles are driving consumer savings, cleaner air, and job creation.

The Biden administration’s historic action is more critical now than ever, as projections of the severity of the climate crisis continue to worsen. Rising temperatures, heavier rainfall and extreme weather are projected to inflict crippling losses on almost every country, with a disproportionately severe impact on those least responsible for climate change. There is no time to lose in moving forward towards an equitable, clean energy future.

Members of Moms Clean Air Force and Environmental Defense Fund pose with EPA Administrator Michael Regan. Photo by Danielle Gagne

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Climate and Clean Energy