The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a set of new emissions rules for airplanes. According to the EPA, airplanes contribute to about 10% of all transportation-related emissions in the United States. While that’s just a small fraction, there hasn’t been any official regulations regarding airplane emissions. That has since changed, however. In December 2020, the EPA released the first-ever emissions rules for airplanes.
About the EPA’s New Emissions Rules
The EPA created the new emissions rules based on standards specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In 2016, the EPA began to explore possible ways to reduce and limit emissions produced by airplanes. After seeking input from industry experts, the EPA decided to use the ICAO’s standards. These international standards contain specifications regarding how much emissions airplanes should produce.
When speaking about the new rule, the EPA explained that it’s aligned with the ICAO’s standards. “This action aligns U.S. standards with the international carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), keeping domestically manufactured aircraft competitive in the global marketplace,” wrote the EPA.
Which Airplanes Are Affected?
The EPA’s new emissions rules affect all jet-engine airplanes with a maximum takeoff weight of at least 5,700 kilograms. It also affects propeller-driven airplanes with a maximum takeoff weight of at least 8,618 kilograms. Both Boeing and Airbus have signed off on the EPA’s new emissions rules, agreeing that it’s an effective set of standards for the aviation industry as a whole.
Airplanes produce emissions as a byproduct. Emissions are generally higher amount of jet-engine airplanes, but even propeller-driven airplanes can produce emissions. When an airplane burns fuel, it will produce emissions. Carbon dioxide is by far the most common type of emission produced and released by airplanes. Research shows that carbon dioxide accounts for roughly 70% of all airplane emissions. When emissions are released, experts believe they can have a greenhouse effect by trapping heat. Therefore, the EPA has developed a new set of new rules to limit the amount of emissions produced by airplanes.
The compliant date for the EPA’s new emissions rules is January 2020 for new airplane designs and 2028 for airplanes with in-production designs. When announcing the new emissions rule, the EPA said that it expects most affected airplanes to be compliant by the required data. Airplanes that aren’t compliant will likely be modified or re-certified.