National Emissions Standards: Unleashing Health & Economic Potential for the Southeast

By: Justin Brightharp

On March 20th and March 28th, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) finalized national emissions standards for passenger cars, medium-duty trucks and vans, and heavy-duty vehicles, respectively, applying to vehicle model years 2027 through 2032. These standards are expected to establish the United States as a leader in the clean transportation space, improve air quality, and lower fuel and operating costs for consumers.

Light-duty and Medium-duty Standard Projected Benefits

  • CO2 reduced by 7.2 billion metric tons
  • $13 billion in annual health benefits
  • Particulate Matter reduced 8,700 tons by 2055
  • NOx reduced 36,000 tons by 2055
  • Volatile Organic Compounds reduced by 150,000 tons by 2055
  • $46 billion in reduced annual fuel costs by 2055
  • Almost $16 billion in reduced annual maintenance and repair costs

Heavy-duty Standard Projected Benefits

  • 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided from 2027 to 2055
  • Reduce air pollution for 72 million people near freight routes
  • $13 billion in annualized benefits through 2055:
    • $10 billion in climate benefits
    • $300 million in benefits from PM reduction
    • $3.5 billion in annual savings

Both standards are performance-based emissions, allowing flexibility in building gasoline vehicles with better engines and transmissions and increasing access to energy-efficient vehicle options like hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery-electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The southeast is home to billions of dollars in private investments from manufacturers along the electric vehicle supply chain, expecting tens of thousands of jobs. The transition towards transportation electrification will benefit the entire United States and local communities across the Southeast.

Projected Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Investments by State 2023

Map: SEEA. Data Source: Atlas Public Policy EV Hub Automaker Dashboard

Projected Electric Vehicle-Specific Jobs by State in the Southeast

Map: SEEA. Data Source: Atlas Public Policy EV Hub Automaker Dashboard

Supporting electric vehicle production requires manufacturing batteries, building vehicle chassis and bodies, building and deploying charging stations, vehicle and charging station maintenance, and battery recycling, all of which can be found in the southeast region. The U.S. EPA projects that 67% of new light-duty vehicle sales and 46% of new medium-duty vehicles could be electric due to the new emissions standards. Thousands, if not millions, of electric vehicles sold in the United States and globally could be built in the southeast region with rippling effects.

For every 100 direct jobs in a durable manufacturing industry, like automotive, over 744 indirect jobs are created. Through 2025, the Southeast region’s existing and announced private investments are expected to bring $93 billion and almost 170,000 direct manufacturing jobs for electric vehicles. This could mean over 1.2 million additional jobs from suppliers and induced jobs from existing and future businesses, including small businesses.

Projected Indirect Jobs from Electric Vehicle Manufacturing in the Southeast 2023

Map: SEEA. Data Source: Economic Policy Institute Employment Multiplier Report. Jan. 2019

The national emission standards for light-duty and medium-duty vehicles, as well as heavy-duty vehicles, provide consumers with health benefits and cost savings and emphasize consumer choice. One of the pathways to improved air quality and health, as well as affordable electric vehicles, for the United States, runs through many communities in the Southeast. The Southeast is poised to see economic growth and the many health and cost benefits from both emissions standards through the thousands of manufacturing jobs created by the electric vehicle supply chain and over a million indirect jobs. Coupled with federal tax incentives: $7,500 for new light-duty electric vehicles, $4,000 for used electric vehicles, and $40,000 for new commercial medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles built in the United States and the billions of dollars of public investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we can further accelerate towards cleaner air and better health in our communities.