Release 08-42
May 19, 2008

    Leo Kay
(916) 849-9843

ARB receives additional funding to clean up state trucks, buses
Diesel emissions from freeway trucks are major contributors to poor air quality

SACRAMENTO - The Governor's revised May budget has allocated an additional $48 million to the Air Resources Board to help low-income truckers comply with regulations aimed at cleaning up diesel emissions from trucks and buses.

The funds from AB118 will combine with previously allocated Proposition 1B funding to help truckers pay for the engine retrofits and replacements that will be required beginning in 2010 after ARB approves in October the country's first regulation aimed at cleaning an estimated 420,000 trucks and buses registered in California as well as those coming in from other states. ARB will work with the Treasurers Office to use the 118 funds to facilitate low interest loans to help truckers install soot filtration devices or completely replace older, dirtier engines.

Funds will also be used to help truckers add devices such as side skirts and wider tires that reduce aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance of trailers, which save fuel and thus lessen greenhouse gas emissions.

"This money will help truckers in the state, many of whom are struggling financially, to retrofit and replace engines to help all of us breathe easier," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "We appreciate the Governor's and Legislature's support on this crucial public health issue."

"Sierra Club California supports the administration's proposal to use $50 million in available air-quality funds for loans to help low-income truckers achieve early compliance with upcoming requirements to reduce toxic diesel emissions," said Bill Magavern, director of Sierra Club California. "This proposal provides a creative solution that will benefit Californians' health and our economy."

"The American Lung Association of California is extremely concerned about the serious health risks posed by diesel trucks and buses and supports the Administration's proposal to allocate existing air quality funds for grants and loans to assist in modernizing these vehicles to reduce toxic emissions," said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, senior policy director for the American Lung Association of California. "Diesel trucks and buses are the largest source of cancer causing soot in the state and we strongly support investing state funds to achieve early compliance with state pollution control regulations."

ARB's draft regulation addresses the largest unregulated source of diesel emissions in the state. In the absence of the regulation, ARB 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.

The regulation is projected to cost the trucking industry somewhere between $3.6 to $5.5 billion from 2010 to 2021, which ARB staff estimates will add less than a penny apiece to products hauled by these trucks that people buy, ranging from athletic shoes to television sets.

Staff re-worked an earlier version of the draft regulation to eliminate the need for truckers to replace trucks twice, 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.

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.

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.