Regulations adopted Friday by The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will require nearly all truck owners that operate in the state to install diesel exhaust filters on their rigs by 2014, replace engines older than the 2010 model year between 2012 and 2022 according to a staggered implementation schedule, and install fuel-efficient tires and aerodynamic devices on their trailers that lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy.

The regulations were made available for public comment in October. According to CARB, the state will offer over $1 billion in funding to help meet the standards. This includes Carl Moyer grants, designated for early or surplus compliance with diesel regulations; Proposition 1B funds, for air quality improvements related to goods movement; and AB 118, which establishes a low-cost truck loan program for early compliance with the truck rule.

"Today's vote marks a milestone in the history of California's air quality," said CARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "The Board's actions will not only help protect the health of 38 million Californians, they will also ensure that California continues strongly on its path to achieving clean air. And in light of today's extremely challenging financial climate, I am also pleased to say that the Governor, legislature and voters have made available more than one billion dollars in grants and loan programs to help truckers and business owners comply with this vital public health measure."

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According to CARB, heavy-duty trucks are responsible for 32% of smog-forming emissions and 40% of cancer-causing emissions from diesel mobile sources. The new regulations will reduce diesel emissions by 68% and NOx by 25% by 2014, saving 9,400 lives and reducing health care costs for an estimated public value between $48 billion and $69 billion, it said.

The greenhouse gas reduction measure applies to over 500,000 trailers and the diesel regulation applies to about 900,000 vehicles--400,000 of which are registered in the State and 500,000 that do business in California, CARB said.

Under the regulations, fleets with three vehicles or less are exempt from any cleanup requirements until 2012. In 2012, they would have to clean up one vehicle, although it would not need to meet 2010 engine requirements until 2018. Under the greenhouse gas reduction regulation, fleets with between one and 20 trailers can delay compliance until 2013.

CARB said the total cost of the two regulations would be approximately $15.9 billion. However, it said the truck regulation’s $5.5 billion would be spread over 16 years, while the greenhouse gas reduction regulation’s $10.4 billion would be more than offset by the fuel savings of $14.7 billion. Yet it noted that while costs for newer fleets would be minimal, for fleets that need to upgrade a significant number of vehicles “the cost will be significantly more substantial,” although CARB expects most businesses to pass the costs onto their customers.

Driving Toward a Cleaner California, a coalition of California trucking companies and businesses, has taken a strong stance against the regulations, saying retrofit devices are unverified and have compatibility issues while small businesses will have a tough time surviving if forced to comply.

The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Assn. (OOIDA) has also been a major opponent of the regulation, especially the state’s version of the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program that requires owners to install certified aftermarket products.

“The statewide truck and bus regulation will undoubtedly push many small-business motor carriers and owner-operators out of business,” said Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA regulatory affairs specialist. “While ARB says they believe that supplying financial assistance to in-state motor carriers will soften the blow of this regulation, there is simply not enough money to go around, particularly when one considers that California’s state government is running ‘hat in hand’ to Washington D.C. for its own bailout.”