Government Regulations May Be Affecting The Trucking Industry

Government regulations may be affecting the trucking industry. In May, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) proposed new low-NOx engine standards for heavy trucks that would go into effect starting in 2023. Los Angeles, in particular, still has a huge smog problem in its basin despite decades of evolving regulations and that’s why the Golden State has been a leader in this effort. It’s actually pushing the Environmental Protection Agency for a nationwide low-NOx standard.

But is it fair to the trucking industry to have to shoulder this burden for cleaner air? Over the last decade and a half, the industry has had to weather federal nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions regulations that caused equipment to get more expensive. According to a recent article in Truckinginfo.com, “fuel economy suffered, maintenance costs went up, and heavy after-treatment equipment got added that has created additional maintenance costs.”

In a recent commentary, Deborah Lockridge of Truckinginfo points out that “it’s quite likely that the air in some parts of California is now actually cleaner coming out the exhaust side of a new diesel truck than it is going in, that we’re still trying to figure out how best to maintain.”

One of the biggest complaints fleet owners have, according to Lockridge, the scattershot nature of many of the regulations being contemplated. Just over the horizon: new regulations as part of the federal Phase 2 GHG plan.

“California is the only state that’s allowed to write its own emissions regulations,” Lockridge writes. “But if it makes these decisions in a vacuum and doesn’t take into account how its goals intersect with federal GHG regs, I’m afraid we could see a repeat of the aughts.”

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