Feds announce program to replace some heavy-duty trucks with zero-emission models

DENVER — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in conjunction with the White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation, has rolled out a nearly $1 billion grant program to help businesses and cities pay for and deploy zero-emission heavy-duty trucks to replace diesel-and gasoline-powered ones.

It’s dubbed the Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles Grant Program and is funded through the Inflation Reduction Act under President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda.

“President Biden and his entire administration are working to ensure every community can breathe clean air. EPA’s Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles Grant Program will slash climate and air pollution and enhance the country’s infrastructure by funding the deployment of zero-emissions vehicles and installation of supporting infrastructure,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The program’s historic investment in zero-emission vehicles will secure our nation’s position as a global leader in clean technologies that address the impacts of climate change.”

The 2024 Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles Grant Program will support the adoption and deployment of eligible Class 6 and 7 zero-emission vehicles while also funding zero-emission vehicle fueling infrastructure and workforce development and training, according to the EPA.

Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, clapped back at the administration shortly after the grant announcement on Wednesday, April 24.

“Small business truckers, who happen to care about clean air for themselves and their kids as much as anyone, make up 96% of trucking,” Spencer wrote in a statement to The Trucker. “Yet this administration seems dead set on regulating every local mom and pop business out of existence with its flurry of unworkable environmental mandates. This administration appears more focused on placating extreme environmental activists who have never been inside a truck than the small business truckers who ensure that Americans have food in their grocery stores and clothes on their backs. If you bought it, a trucker brought it.”

Across the nation, more than 3 million Class 6 and Class 7 vehicles are currently in use, spanning a wide variety of vehicle types and vocations, including school buses, refuse haulers and utility and delivery trucks.

“In addition to all the progress we’re making to electrify light-duty vehicles, today’s funding from the EPA will catalyze projects that bring electric school buses, garbage trucks and delivery vans to neighborhoods across America — reducing pollution in our communities and creating good-paying manufacturing jobs,” said John Podesta, senior advisor to the president for International Climate Policy.

The initiative is part of a first-ever national goal to transition to a zero-emissions freight sector for truck, rail, aviation and marine, along with a commitment to develop a national zero-emissions freight strategy, according to a White House news release.

The grant announcement was made alongside a statement from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration saying that $148 million in grants will be doled out to 11 states and Puerto Rico under the first round of a new $400 million program to improve air quality and reduce pollution for truck drivers, port workers and families that live in communities surrounding ports.

“The U.S. freight system is vital to our nation’s economy,” the White House news release states. “Trucks, ships, trains and planes move 55 million tons of goods worth more than $49 billion every day, across a vast network that is essential to how Americans live and work. But while industry has made progress on reducing emissions from this sector, freight movement continues to represent a significant share of local air pollution, increasing the risk of asthma, heart disease, hospitalization and other adverse health outcomes for the millions of Americans, especially overburdened communities, who live and work near highways, ports, railyards, warehouses and other freight routes.

The EPA is providing two separate competitions for its truck grant program.

The are:

The School Bus Sub-Program for applicants replacing school buses.
The Vocational Vehicles Sub-Program for applicants replacing non-school bus Class 6 and 7 vehicles, including box trucks, refuse haulers, dump trucks, street sweepers, delivery trucks, bucket trucks and utility trucks.

EPA anticipates approximately 70% of available funding will be for projects under the School Bus Sub-Program and approximately 30% of available funding will be for projects under the Vocational Vehicles Sub-Program.

The deadline to apply for the 2024 Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles Grant Program is July 25, 2024. EPA expects to announce awards by the end of this year.

Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.


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