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EPA Finalizes New Pollution Standards for Cars, Light-Duty Trucks & Medium Duty Vehicles; GASP Calls Regs ‘Monumental’

Updated: Mar 21

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced final national pollution standards for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles for model years 2027 through 2032 and beyond expected to avoid more than 7 billion tons of carbon emissions.

In a release, the EPA said the new rules will also provide nearly $100 billion in annual net benefits to society, including $13 billion of annual public health benefits due to improved air quality, and $62 billion in reduced annual fuel costs, and maintenance and repair costs for drivers. 

The final standards deliver on the significant pollution reductions outlined in the proposed rule, while accelerating the adoption of cleaner vehicle technologies. EPA is finalizing this rule as sales of clean vehicles, including plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles, hit record highs last year.

Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) lauded the move to cut pollution from the transportation sector, which accounts for 29% of climate pollution produced in the United States. 

“These new clean cars standards are paramount to our progress in slashing air pollution and cleaning up our air,” GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell said. “This monumental rule will help save lives and provide the momentum we need to get us to a zero-pollution vehicle future.”

EPA projects an increase in U.S. auto manufacturing employment in response to these final standards. Strong standards have historically contributed to the U.S. leading the world in the supply of clean technologies, with corresponding benefits for American global competitiveness and domestic employment. 

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Light- and Medium-Duty Vehicle Final Standards

The final standards announced today build on EPA's existing emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2023 through 2026. The standards continue the technology-neutral and performance-based design of previous EPA standards for cars, pickups, and vans, and leverage advances in clean car technologies to further reduce both climate pollution and smog- and soot-forming emissions.

EPA is finalizing the same standard proposed for MY 2032 while allowing additional time for the auto sector to scale up clean vehicle manufacturing supply chains in the first three years covered by the rule.

Annually, the net benefits to society for the light- and medium-duty final rule are estimated to be $99 billion. The final rule is expected to avoid 7.2 billion tons of CO2 emissions through 2055, roughly equal to four times the emissions of the entire transportation sector in 2021. It will also reduce fine particulate matter and ozone, preventing up to 2,500 premature deaths in 2055 as well as reducing heart attacks, respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, aggravated asthma, and decreased lung function.

Compared to the existing MY 2026 standards, the final MY 2032 standards:

  • represent a nearly 50% reduction in projected fleet average greenhouse gas emissions levels for light-duty vehicles and

  • 44% reductions for medium-duty vehicles

In addition, the standards are expected to reduce emissions of health-harming fine particulate matter from gasoline-powered vehicles by over 95%. This will improve air quality nationwide and especially for people who live near major roadways and have environmental justice concerns.

Editor’s Note: GASP staff is currently reviewing the final rule, which you can read for yourself here.

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