April 23, 2024

Here’s where the new rules come in. Perhaps most importantly, standards for larger cars were weakened from those in the initial proposal released last spring. The initial rule outlined that the medium-duty fleet would be subject to emissions targets of 438 grams of carbon dioxide per mile, or g/mi, for model year 2027 and 275 g/mi in 2032. The final rule targets are more lenient: 461 g/mi for model year 2027 and 275 g/mi in model year 2032. Light-duty vehicles, on the other hand, will be held to a greenhouse gas emissions goal of just 82 g/mi that year.

Happily, some more vehicles will be subject to those rules too. The EPA’s tailpipe emissions standards change its definition of medium-duty passenger vehicles to include any pickup truck with a gross vehicle weight rating, or GVWR, of 14,000 pounds or less and a “work factor” (essentially, hauling capabilities) of 4,500 pounds or less. GVWR refers to the maximum weight capacity of a vehicle, including the weight of the car itself, passengers, and cargo. Also included in that category will now be “pickups with a GVWR below 9,500 pounds and a fixed interior length cargo area of less than eight feet regardless of whether the vehicle work factor is above 4,500 pounds.” Previously, pickups with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or below were generally included in the “medium-duty” category.

Additional stipulations around cargo-area length and work factors—essentially, making it harder to classify certain vehicles as non-passenger vehicles—are meant, the EPA writes in its report, to prevent manufacturers from reclassifying pickups so as to avoid stricter regulations, as they have in the past. As the agency also explains, the change is meant to address electric trucks whose weight—a product, in part, of the heavy batteries needed to power them—would mean they were classified as medium-duty passenger vehicles rather than light-duty passenger vehicles.