Andrew Wheeler, acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced late last week the government would enforce limits to the number of trucks built with glider kits produced annually.
Trucks using glider kits combine a new truck chassis with older engine and transmission. While often used to rebuild vehicles after accidents, they can also be used to avoid emissions regulations.
The cap of 300 gliders a year per manufacturer was included in the Phase 2 greenhouse gas regulation for heavy- and medium-duty trucks announced in 2016. However, citing the regulatory overreach of the Obama administration, Scott Pruitt in early July lifted the cap on gliders at least through 2020 during his final days as EPA chief.
A week later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a temporary injunction blocking EPA's move after it was challenged by environmental groups. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia had filed a separate suit against EPA over the glider decision.
EPA’s Wheeler said in a memo he had “concluded that the application of current regulations to the glider industry does not represent the kind of extremely unusual circumstances that support the EPA’s exercise of enforcement discretion.”
The EPA has previously said that if gliders were allowed through 2025, they would make up 5 percent of the freight trucks on the road but would account for one third of all nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions from the U.S. heavy truck fleet.
Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, said EPA’s effort to create a loophole allowing more of them onto our roads was irresponsible and dangerous.”