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On April 12, 2024, AAFA’s Senior Director of Advocacy and Policy, Jenna Riemenschneider, joined representatives from Earthjustice, Consumer Reports, Terawatt Infrastructure, and National Grid of New York to brief congressional staff on the new car and truck emission standards. Riemenschneider shared the health benefits that the these standards will bring, especially for people with asthma. The purpose of the briefings was to ensure that Congress understands the importance of the standards and does not take action to weaken the standards in the future.

On March 29, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized additional emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses. These standards will apply to trucks made after 2026.

According to the EPA, “The final standards will reduce air pollution for the 72 million people who live near major truck freight routes, who bear the burden of higher levels of pollution and are more likely to be people of color or low-income. Reducing these emissions also provides cleaner air for communities across the country, preventing health issues like asthma, and ultimately saving money, lives, and trips to the hospital.”

On March 20, 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the strongest vehicle emissions standards ever. The standards will apply to cars made after 2026.

Vehicle emission standards limit how much pollution vehicles can release into the environment. These standards aim to reduce air and climate pollution and to improve air quality.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) advocated for these standards and will continue to advocate for a future where cars don’t pollute the air or contribute to climate change. You can read AAFA’s full statement below:

Washington, D.C., March 20, 2024 – The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) applauds a new rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will drive America toward a future with zero vehicle emissions. The move will help the 27 million people in the United States with asthma breathe easier.

The EPA announced final national pollution standards for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles for model years 2027 through 2032 and beyond.

According to the EPA, the final rule will avoid more than 7 billion tons of CO2 emissions through 2055, roughly equal to four times the emissions of the entire transportation sector in 2021.

EPA's estimates suggest the rule's impact will prevent up to 2,500 premature deaths in 2055 as well as reducing heart attacks, respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, aggravated asthma, and decreased lung function.

“Transportation-related emissions are a leading contributor to air pollution,” said Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of AAFA. “Polluted air from these emissions irritates the lungs of people who have asthma and makes their asthma worse. This pollution also accelerates climate change by trapping warm air in the atmosphere. When temperatures are warmer and air pollution is high, studies have shown that there are more emergency room visits from asthma attacks. By reducing emissions from cars and light trucks, the EPA’s new rule will improve the quality of life for the 27 million people in the United States with asthma. We’re hopeful additional standards for heavy-duty vehicles will be announced that continue to drive us toward a zero-emissions reality.”

AAFA’s 2024 Allergy Capitals™ report highlights the urgency of the climate crisis. The report notes that warmer temperatures create a perfect storm of negative consequences for people with asthma. First, the warm weather means longer growing seasons, leading to both higher pollen counts and more time exposed to pollen. For people with allergic asthma (the most common form of asthma) pollen can trigger symptoms. Second, the combination of warm temperatures and high air pollution makes asthma symptoms worse.

“The rule announced today offers hope that we can stem the tide of climate change,” said Mendez. “We’ll continue to push for policy solutions focused on cleaner air.”

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