US: California announces new pollution regulations for heavy trucks

More than 900,000 heavy trucks are to be affected by tough new anti-pollution laws that have been announced in draft form by California.

The California Air Resources Board has announced its latest draft version of two anti-pollution regulations for heavy trucks operating in the state. The first is for diesel exhaust filter retrofits, while the second will require the use of EPA SmartWay-approved equipment.

If signed into law, the latest draft regulations will mean exhaust filters must be fitted to heavy trucks from 2010, upgrades to be completed by 2014. According to the portal, owners must also turn over engines older than the 2010 equivalent according to a staggered implementation schedule between 2012 and 2022.

Under the second of the CARB’s proposals, EPA SmartWay-approved tires and aerodynamic devices will apply to certain vehicles from 1 January 2010: sleeper-cab heavy-duty tractors pulling a 53-foot or longer box-type trailers will not be allowed to operate on a highway in California unless they are SmartWay-certified.

The new regulations are expected to affect some 400,000 trucks registered in California, as well as about 500,000 out-of-state vehicles. To assist with the easing in of the new laws, the state is offering more than US$1bn in assistance to operators.

Without the new regulations, California will not be able to meet EPA-mandated air quality standards and deadlines, with billions of dollars in federal highway funding also at risk.