On Friday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a new rule aimed at dramatically curbing emissions from idling trucks, leaving truck and engine manufacturers concerned.
On August 28, CARB members unanimously voted to adopt the “Heavy-Duty Omnibus (Omnibus)” rule, which will dramatically overhaul exhaust emission standards, test procedures and other emissions-related requirements starting in 2024.
The Omnibus rule would require that the current NOX (oxides of nitrogen) standards would be cut to about 75 percent below current standards beginning in 2024 and 90 percent below current standards in 2027. CARB says that the proposed emission reductions will be equivalent to removing 16 million light-duty cars from the road.
CARB says idling trucks are a major source of NOX emissions:
Communities adjacent to railyards, ports and warehouses experience heavy truck traffic, with trucks often idling and driving slowly, with frequent stops. Today’s heavy-duty trucks do not control NOx emissions effectively during such low load conditions. The new standards proposed within the Low NOx Heavy-Duty Omnibus Regulation will cut truck emissions, including during low load conditions. Thus, the Regulation will help to reduce adverse health impacts and improve air quality throughout the state, especially in these areas which are disproportionately impacted by truck emissions
The group Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) released a statement criticizing the Omnibus rule as impractical, stringent, and not cost-effective for truckers.
“CARB’s far-reaching Omnibus Low-NOX Rule is not technologically feasible or cost-effective,” said Jed Mandel, President of the EMA. “In addition, the requirements starting in 2024 fail to provide the statutorily required minimum leadtime for manufacturers to develop the technologies.”
The Omnibus Low-NOX Rule will go into effect at the same time as the Advanced Clean Truck regulation adopted by CARB in late June 2020 that will require truck manufacturers to begin the transition from diesel to zero-emission trucks in 2024. By 2045, every new truck sold in California must be zero-emission, officials say.
“The compounding and overlapping nature of the two regulatory mandates that CARB approved this summer threatens California’s commercial truck market. Instead of purchasing expensive, complicated and unproven new vehicles in California, truck operators and freight shippers are likely to maintain old trucks longer and seek solutions outside the state,” said Mandel. “We fear that jobs, the economy, and the environment all will be at risk as truckers buy vehicles out of state, dealers lose sales and the state loses jobs and tax revenue.”
Mandel said after CARB’s decision to implement the Omnibus rule that “a workable and implementable heavy-duty NOX program is attainable — one that addresses California’s environmental needs while preserving the availability of new commercial vehicles that trucking fleets in the state need to move goods in California. Unfortunately, the rule CARB adopted today is not it.”