The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have released a joint plan detailing new greenhouse gas emissions standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, vans, and busses.  The proposed standards are designed to cut emissions for industrial and vocational vehicles by 10 to 20 percent, starting with 2014 models; they follow on the heels of similar standards announced for light-duty vehicles last spring. 

While the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) has styled this as a “win-win situation for the country, the economy, climate change, and energy security,” those responsible have done little to allay fears that the new standards are yet another instance of the federal government throwing regulation at the private sector to satisfy “climate-change” ideology.

Manufacturers are supposed to lower vehicular emissions through increased aerodynamics, engine performance, and better tires; although the EPA and NHTSA are technically correct in touting the lower cost at the pump of more fuel efficient vehicles, they neglect to address the other ways in which Americans will end up paying for them.  While buying gas for one’s truck may be cheaper under the new standards, the cost of the truck itself will be increased by however much more is spent by the manufacturer in making it Obama administration-friendly.

Earlier this year, American Truck Dealers and the Owner Operated Independent Drivers Associations wrote to DoT Secretary Ray LaHood voicing their opposition to EPA input on emissions standards.  Previously, the issue had solely been the bailiwick of NHTSA, which is obligated to take economic factors into consideration.  The EPA, on the other hand, has no such requirement.

There is, of course, a problem more general than the simply the cost of these vehicles, namely, that Washington insists on poking its regulatory finger into private business again and again in the midst of an ongoing recession.  What the public needs now isn’t the promise of a clean-green conscience with every car purchased: we just need a cheaper car.  These latest regulations have done the opposite, and are symptomatic of an all-too-common attitude in the current administration, one that blithely skips over the prerogatives of states to make blanket declarations on the federal level. 

Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, the public will have a 60-day comment period to voice its concerns.  To learn more about and comment upon the new standards please visit: