US Heavy-Duty Transport & Climate Change

How heavy-duty manufacturers have lobbied to weaken US climate policy while publicly promoting a zero-emission vehicle transition

December 2022

See coverage including NPR, The Washington Post, Drilled, Autoweek and E&E News.

US truck manufacturers are actively lobbying to weaken and delay key US climate policies promoting zero-emission trucks, while simultaneously running PR campaigns that appear to promote the decarbonization of the sector, new InfluenceMap research finds. The analysis draws on thousands of pages of previously unseen lobbying documents found from 33 FOIA requests across 11 states.

  • The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) has spearheaded a lobbying campaign in eight states to oppose the adoption of the state-based Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule, which accelerates the transition towards zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). New documents show the EMA has directly lobbied policymakers against ACT adoption in California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington. Notably, Maine and Colorado have yet to finalize the rulemaking process.

  • New FOIA documents reveal that Volvo, Daimler Truck, Volkswagen (Navistar) and PACCAR have lobbied to oppose the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule in at least three states. Daimler Truck's Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, who was chair of the EMA at the time, advocated to policymakers in 2021 to oppose ACT's adoption in Oregon and Colorado. New FOIA documents also show that in 2021 PACCAR advocated against the adoption of the ACT rule in New York, while Navistar (Volkswagen) and Volvo opposed the rule in Oregon.

  • Major truck makers have lobbied against more ambitious federal GHG emission standards in the short term. At the federal level, Volvo, Daimler Truck, Volkswagen (Navistar), PACCAR and the EMA have opposed the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to tighten existing “Phase 2” GHG emission standards. The manufacturers, as well as the EMA, have instead called for long-term “Phase 3” standards, which will likely not come into force until 2030.

  • Growing misalignments within the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) between GM and Ford, which appear less engaged on heavy-duty climate policy, and other MHDV manufacturers. Evidence points to significant misalignments among EMA members, with Ford Motor and General Motors disclosing less on climate policy than the other EMA truck makers analyzed.

  • Truck makers are deploying strategic PR campaigns to distract from their negative lobbying with high-level and seemingly positive climate messaging. Daimler Truck, Volvo, PACCAR and Navistar are founding members of the Partners for a Zero Emission Vehicle Future (PZEVF) coalition, which uses misleading public messaging to detract from its lobbying against the Advanced Clean Truck rule. The EMA also owns and operates a “Clean Trucks Facts” website, which employs positive language around decarbonizing heavy-duty transportation while advocating for weaker federal climate policy for the sector.

  • Negative truck maker lobbying undermines efforts to bring zero-emission heavy-duty trucks to market and poses a major risk to US climate targets. Transport generates around 27% of total GHG emissions in the US, a quarter of which are generated by medium and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs) alone. Negative industry lobbying poses a risk to both the US COP27 commitment of 100% new zero-emission MHDV sales by 2040 and the US commitment to cut nationwide GHG emissions in half by 2030.

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