Release 08-40
May 12, 2008

    Leo Kay
(916) 322-2990


ARB proposes new rule to clean up state trucks, buses
Diesel emissions from freeway trucks are major contributors to poor air quality

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board unveiled a revised draft regulation this week that would require retrofits and engine replacements for the estimated 420,000 trucks and buses registered in California as well as those transiting California roadways from other states and countries.

Staff re-worked an earlier version of the draft regulation to eliminate the need for truckers to replace two trucks in a nine-year span, instead relying more heavily on retrofits for the first two years of the regulation. The revised proposal has a lower cost while preserving important public health benefits. The proposed regulation now calls for truckers to retrofit pre-2007 model year trucks with soot filters and then requires a gradual modernization of trucks beginning in 2012, so that ultimately all trucks are the cleanest, 2010 or newer models.

"If passed by the Board later this year, this regulation will save thousands of lives and help the hundreds of thousands more who suffer from asthma and other respiratory ailments," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "While we are sensitive to the economic impacts this measure poses to truckers, the public health benefits are far too great not to move forward."

ARB's draft regulation addresses the largest unregulated source of diesel emissions in the state. In the absence of the regulation, staff currently estimates 11,000 premature deaths from diesel truck emissions between 2010 and 2020. The total economic value of eliminating this impact is $70 to 89 billion.

Emissions from diesel particulate matter are associated with causing a variety of health effects including premature death and a number of heart and lung diseases. A recent study looking at the health impacts to Bay Area residents posed by diesel emissions estimates the yearly non-cancer health impacts resulting from exposure to port-related diesel particulate matter emissions in the area: 18 premature deaths (age 30 and older), 290 asthma attacks, 2,600 days of work loss, and 15,000 minor restricted activity episodes. Most of the risk comes from diesel particulate matter emissions from trucks traveling on nearby freeways and marine vessel traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area unrelated to the Port of Oakland.

ARB has put in place stringent regulations to curb the health risk to Californians. The most recent adopted regulations to limit diesel emissions affect cargo handling equipment, transport refrigeration units, truck idling, off-road construction equipment, harbor craft, ship auxiliary engines, port drayage trucks and ships-at-berth. Also, the introduction of cleaner fuel for railroads and ships has contributed to lower pollution around the ports and rail yards.

Later this year, ARB will also consider adopting another proposed regulation involving ocean-going vessel main engines to further reduce diesel soot. State control measures will contribute to an approximate decrease of 80 percent in harmful emissions by 2015.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our web site at