SACRAMENTO, Calif. (December 12, 2008) – Big rigs and virtually every other heavy-duty diesel vehicle running on California roads – about a million in total – must clean up their pollution, according to two regulations passed today by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The regulations are designed to reduce global warming emissions from the roughly one million diesel vehicles servicing California.
Following is a statement by Diane Bailey, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s public health program:
“Diesel pollution kills thousands of Californians every year. These two rules will save nearly 10,000 lives, more than $40 billion in healthcare costs, prevent thousands of air pollution-related illnesses, and contribute to our state’s global warming emission reduction goals.”
“Thousands of families affected by truck pollution in California have been digging deep in their pocketbooks for years to deal with asthma and a deluge of other air pollution-related illnesses. Children living in truck-choked areas across the state are depending on these clean up measures to relieve them from air pollution that challenges their every breath.”
Existing on-road diesel vehicles are a significant contributor to the statewide emissions of the particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from diesel mobile sources. The CARB regulations will require existing diesel vehicles to be upgraded with exhaust retrofits or cleaner engines beginning in 2010 and phasing in through 2022 to reduce diesel soot and smog-forming gases. Most long distance trucks and trailers will also have to use EPA-approved efficient tires and aerodynamic fittings, both of which are expected to save billions of gallons of fuel. School buses are included in these regulations, but would generally be required only to add exhaust retrofits, for which there is ample public funding available.
Heavy-duty trucks in California are the largest single source of diesel pollution, leading to thousands of illnesses and deaths each year. Pollution from diesel trucks in California is responsible for roughly 4,500 premature deaths each year, which is more than the number of deaths from auto accidents. The cost of this loss of life in addition to disease, lost work days, and school absences adds up to $40 billion per year. However, diesel pollution could easily be prevented through upgrades to the existing truck fleet. While truck owners may be wary of the added costs of upgrades that will be required, much funding has been made available by the state to offset those costs.
For more information, read Diane Bailey’s blog at: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dbailey/