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Home > Feature Articles > Logistics and Vehicle Fleet Management > Trucking & Logistics for Efficiency, Fuel Savings, and Air Quality

Diesel Truck and Bus Emissions Upfit Changes Proposed by California ARB Draft Reg

Regulation change that favors upfiting current trucks and extending new truck replacement will reduce trucking costs to meet 2012 diesel emissions compliance.

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ARB proposes new rule to clean up state trucks, buses

Diesel emissions from freeway trucks are major contributors to poor air quality

The Air Resources Board unveiled a revised draft regulation in mid-May, 2008 that will require retrofits and engine replacements for the estimated privately owned 300,000 diesel trucks and buses transiting California roadways beginning in 2012.

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.

This draft regulation addresses the largest unregulated source of diesel emissions in the state. Between 2010 and 2020, ARB estimates that the regulation will prevent 11,000 premature deaths associated with exposure to diesel exhaust, and save roughly $500 million in health care costs during that same period.

"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."

Cost to the Trucking Industry and Consumers

This 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.

ARB is in the midst of allocating $1 billion in Proposition 1B funds, much of which will go toward helping truckers retrofit and replace trucks. Other entities, including the U.S. EPA and several California ports are offering financial assistance.

Health Impacts of Diesel Emissions

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 West Oakland 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

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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