Emissions Regulatory Standards
Emissions standards are rapidly becoming more strict. For example, CARB standards for heavy-duty Diesel trucks, as shown in the table below, have recently undergone 2 major revisions and another revision is due in 2010. This trend is paralleled by EPA and EURO emissions standards.
These increasingly strict standards have had an economic impact on the heavy-duty Diesel truck industry. In order to achieve 2007 standards, each truck needed to install about $14,000 worth of emissions control equipment, typically for Exhaust Gas Recycling (EGR) or Catalytic Converter technology. This additional cost was passed on to the end users. The new requirement also caused a major wrinkle in the truck manufacturers production schedule, as sales doubled in 2006, just prior to the new standard, but dropped to only 20% of the usual amount in 2007. For the 2010 standards, this cost is expected to increase to about $45k per truck, as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology would also be needed.
Health Effects of Emissions
Current Diesel emissions levels have been shown to be extremely harmful to the environment and our population's health, greatly contributing to global warming, acid rain, and smog, and causing about 70% of all lung disease deaths, including cancer. In the United States, about 200,000 deaths per year are attributed to Diesel emissions.
The extent of the Diesel problem is huge, as there are roughly 1.25 million Diesel engines in just California alone. But Diesel engines are not alone in their detrimental effect on the environment and global health, as other fuel sources are equally dirty, such as with burning wood, other forms of oil, and coal. Of course, the EPA, California Air Resources Board (CARB), and other regulatory bodies have been working to introduce regulations that limit emissions levels and thus the resulting harm to the environment and our population's health. CARB has made a top priority to reduce Diesel PM emissions throughout the state. Typically, these regulations are resisted by the industries that use these fuels, as these regulations add to their purchase and operational costs. For example, when 22 of the 24 EPA advisory committee members voted to restrict the production of particulates, the engine manufacturing and chemical industry's 2 dissenting votes ensured that no stricter regulations were recommended.
In September 2006, CARB ran into similar problems when proposing stricter regulations because the trucking and engine manufacturers deemed the increased regulations were too economically expensive to them. Clearly, in order to make further improvements to the environment and to the population's health, a new technology was needed that could both reduce emissions levels and also reduce purchase and operational costs to the involved industries. Until then, industry and the environmental agencies would be deadlocked.
The EPA, CARB and other regulatory agencies have been working to reduce emissions from a number of sources. These sources include trucks, cars, heavy machinery, generators, power plants, ships, locomotives, and even ﬁreplaces. CARB and local air districts have provided incentive funds to replace older, dirty Diesel engines with new, cleaner engines. There has been enhanced enforcement of existing regulations. Cleaner fuels have been offered and even required for some industries. Regulatory agencies are already introducing stricter limitations on tailpipe emissions, which typically has not included particulates emissions. By 2010, Diesel PM and NOx emissions from new heavy-duty Diesel truck engines will be about 98 percent lower than uncontrolled levels. Additionally, CARB's plan is to reduce Diesel particulate emissions, the exhaust soot that has been linked to cancer and other respiratory disease, by 75% by 2010 and by 85% by 2020.