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EPA launches Cleaner Trucks Initiative to update NOx standards for heavy-duty trucks

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched the Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI) to further decrease NOx emissions from on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines. The CTI will include a future rulemaking that will update the existing NOx standard which was last set in 2001 while also streamlining compliance and certification requirements.

This action follows petitions for a rulemaking on this issue from more than 20 organizations including state and local air agencies from across the country.

The EPA’s goal is to develop a program that could be adopted by EPA and the California Air Resources Board, creating a 50-state program, which would streamline compliance for manufacturers. In developing the proposal, EPA will work with a broad range of stakeholders, including heavy-duty vehicle and engine manufacturers; the California Air Resources Board; labor groups; technology suppliers; environmental non-governmental organizations; state and local air quality agencies; truck dealerships; trucking fleets; and truck drivers and owners.

The US has made major reductions in NOx emissions, but it’s been nearly 20 years since EPA updated these standards. Through rulemaking and a comprehensive review of existing requirements, we will capitalize on these gains and incentivize new technologies to ensure our heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation.

—Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler

From 2007 to 2017, US NOx emissions dropped by more than 40%. It is estimated that heavy-duty trucks will be responsible for one-third of NOx emissions from the transportation sector in 2025. EPA expects that any update to the standards will result in significant mobile source NOx reductions, which will aid communities across the country in the attainment of ozone and particulate matter standards.

EPA last revised NOx standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines in January 2001. The Agency is not required by statue to update the standard. EPA intends to publish a proposed rule in early 2020.

In addition to updating NOx emissions standards, the CTI will cut unnecessary red tape while simplifying certification of compliance requirements for heavy-duty trucks and engines, according to the EPA.

Areas of deregulatory focus will include onboard diagnostic requirements, cost-effective means of reassuring real world compliance by using modern and advanced technologies, the deterioration factor testing process, and concerns regarding annual recertification of engine families.

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