Court Ruling Blocks Trailer Rule, Weakening a Critical Tool to Fight Climate Change

Statement by Michelle Robinson, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Oct 27, 2017

WASHINGTON (October 27, 2017)—A federal court ruled today that manufacturers of truck trailers do not need to comply with a previously finalized rule to reduce emissions from heavy-duty trucks. This is a serious blow to efforts to fight climate change and will mean America’s trucks will burn more oil in the years to come, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).  Technology to increase the efficiency of trailers is already widely used by major national trucking fleets.  Analysis conducted by EPA in developing the rule showed that the relatively minor adjustments to trailers could be made cost-effectively.

Below is a statement by Michelle Robinson, director of the Clean Vehicles Program at UCS.

“The heavy-duty truck rules that were finalized last year did a lot to fight climate change. Heavy duty trucks make up only 7 percent of vehicles on the road but use 25 percent of the fuel, so making trucks more efficient is crucial to cutting oil use and carbon dioxide emissions. The new rules were set to reduce U.S. oil consumption by more than a million barrels every two days, and cut 1.1 billion metric tons of global warming pollution over the lifetime of the trucks covered by the rule. Making trailers more efficient delivered at least 10 percent of these benefits. Now, the court has sided with trailer manufacturers who don’t want to comply with the rule, and the Trump administration has already signaled its intent to let them off the hook completely by revising the regulations.   

“This is a short-sighted decision by the D.C. Court of Appeals that leaves us at greater risk of climate change. And unfortunately, we can’t rely on the Trump administration and the Pruitt EPA to do the right thing and defend and maintain the trailer standards.”