Release 08-103
December 12, 2008

    Karen Caesar
(626) 575-6728
(626) 818-0145 cell
ARB adopts landmark rules to clean up pollution from "big rigs"
Regulations expected to prevent 9,400 premature deaths, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases; more than $1 billion in funding aid available for business owners

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board today adopted two critical regulations directly aimed at cleaning up harmful emissions from the estimated one million heavy-duty diesel trucks that operate in California. Beginning January 1, 2011, the Statewide Truck and Bus rule will require truck owners to install diesel exhaust filters on their rigs, with nearly all vehicles upgraded by 2014. Owners must also replace engines older than the 2010 model year according to a staggered implementation schedule that extends from 2012 to 2022.

Also adopted today, the Heavy Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction measure requires long-haul truckers to install fuel efficient tires and aerodynamic devices on their trailers that lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy.

"Today's vote marks a milestone in the history of California's air quality," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "The Board's actions will not only help protect the health of 38 million Californians, they will also ensure that California continues strongly on its path to achieving clean air. And in light of today's extremely challenging financial climate, I am also pleased to say that the Governor, legislature and voters have made available more than one billion dollars in grants and loan programs to help truckers and business owners comply with this vital public health measure."

Heavy-duty big rigs are the largest remaining source of unregulated diesel emissions, responsible for 32 percent of the smog-forming emissions and nearly 40 percent of the cancer-causing emissions from diesel mobile sources (other diesel emitters include trains, off-road vehicles and marine engines). The greenhouse gas reduction measure applies to more than 500,000 trailers, while the diesel regulation applies to about 400,000 heavy duty vehicles that are registered in the state, and about 500,000 out-of-state vehicles that do business in California. However, because many heavy duty vehicles are replaced or retired due to normal business practices on a faster schedule than what the new regulation will require, the number of vehicles expected to be retrofit by 2014 under the rule is about 230,000, while up to 350,000 vehicles would be replaced earlier than normal over the next 15 years.

To help truck owners upgrade their vehicles, the state is offering more than a billion dollars in funding opportunities. Options include Carl Moyer grants, which are designated for early or surplus compliance with diesel regulations; Proposition 1B funds, for air quality improvements related to goods movement; and AB 118, which establishes a low-cost truck loan program to help pay for early compliance with the truck rule. In addition, ARB is evaluating ways to integrate these programs so that truckers can get a grant and a loan at the same time, minimizing paperwork and significantly reducing the monthly payments for a new truck loan.

To provide flexibility, the diesel regulation is structured so that owners can choose from among three compliance options to meet regulation requirements. There are exceptions to the regulation, including low-use vehicles, emergency and military vehicles, and personal use motor homes. School buses would be subject only to requirements for reducing diesel particulate matter and not for engine replacement.

California has the nation's most polluted air. Because of new engine standards established in 2001, diesel engines operating in California have been getting cleaner, but they are not getting clean fast enough to meet air quality goals. With the new State Bus and Truck rule in place, by 2014, diesel emissions will be 68 percent lower than they would be without the regulation, while emissions of the smog-forming pollutant NOx (oxides of nitrogen) will be 25 percent lower.

Diesel emissions are associated with cancer and exacerbate cardiovascular and respiratory ailments, as do smog-forming emissions. The truck regulation is expected to save 9,400 lives between 2011 and 2025, and greatly reduce health care costs. These benefits have an estimated value of $48 billion to $69 billion. The cost of installing the trailer greenhouse-gas-reducing technologies will be quickly recouped through lower fuel use.

ARB staff held dozens of workshops and met with hundreds of business owners and other stakeholders over the last 20 months. Without the diesel regulation, California will not be able to meet U.S. EPA-mandated air quality standards and deadlines, and could subsequently lose billions of dollars in federal highway funding.

To reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality and public health, the ARB adopted a Diesel Risk Reduction Plan in 2000 and has already passed regulations addressing urban buses, garbage trucks, school bus and truck idling, stationary engines, transport refrigeration units, cargo handling equipment at ports and rail yards, off-road vehicles, port trucks and other sources.

For more information on the Statewide Bus and Truck Regulation, go here: .

Fore more information on the Heavy Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Reduction Measure go here:

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.