The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to completely overhaul truck emissions regulation with a new proposal set for 2020. The EPA wants to further reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, which could greatly impact many drivers and fleets across the United States.

Cleaner Trucks Initiative

The last time the EPA made a ruling on truck emissions was back in 2000. California and other states, along with some big players in the trucking industry, have made a push for even cleaner emissions due to the changes in technology and the environment over the past 19 years. Oddly, California has some of the strictest truck emissions laws in the country, and even those supporting the EPAs new overhaul prefer the national standard to California’s prohibitive emissions laws.

Regulation or Deregulation?

There was a focus from Washington, DC on deregulating the trucking industry. Since those intentions were stated, we’ve seen the ELD rule, the FMCSA mandate on hours of service and breaks, and not a push for stricter truck emissions. All of these things cost time and money for drivers and fleet owners. Some look at the EPAs push for lower nitrogen oxide emissions as further interference in the trucking industry. Others see it as a smart move that looks ahead to the future that places the United States closer to emissions standards in “greener” nations.

Finding a Middle Ground

Recent regulations have imposed expenses on the trucking industry, and a potential crack-down on nitrogen oxide emissions will likely bring additional costs as trucks get refitted. However, the EPA aims to find a new standard for truck emissions that is lower than the current national regulations, but not as restrictive as those in California. In the case of California, their emissions laws have very little to do with an ideology that wants to restrict the freight business. If anything, their emissions laws are about overcompensation. California has some of the worst air pollution in the United States. In an attempt to mitigate the pollution, California has enacted measures which are more stringent than most other states.

While the EPA has been rather vague on the details of its Cleaner Trucks Initiative, Express Freight Finance will be following this issue and reporting any details as they are released.