Contact Us

Newsroom

News Releases By Date

 

EPA TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE AIR POLLUTION FROM HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS; ENSURE THAT LARGEST SUVs MEET EMISSION STANDARDS

Release Date: 10/06/99
Contact Information:


FOR RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 1999
EPA TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE AIR POLLUTION
FROM HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS; ENSURE THAT LARGEST SUVs
MEET EMISSION STANDARDS


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a strategy to reduce by over 90 percent harmful levels of smog-causing nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, or soot, from heavy-duty trucks and the very largest sport utility vehicles. The strategy also includes a plan to produce cleaner diesel fuel.
“Anyone who has ever driven behind a large truck already knows about the levels of harmful air pollution that can come out of the exhaust pipes. This strategy would reduce those emissions by more than 90 percent,” said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. “The Clinton Administration already has proposed the toughest tailpipe standards ever for passenger cars and most SUVs. This new strategy would take the next step. In addition to cutting emissions from heavy duty trucks, it would close any possible loopholes for the new, super-large SUVs now being built by ensuring that they also meet strict emission standards. As a result, Americans can have both cleaner air and the consumer choices they want in motor vehicles. ”

Last May, in a separate action, President Clinton announced the toughest tailpipe standards ever for passenger vehicles. That proposal for the first time requires light-duty trucks, mini-vans and SUVs weighing up to 8,500 pounds to meet the same tailpipe-emission standards as passenger vehicles, and it would also significantly reduce the sulfur content of gasoline. That proposed rule is expected to be finalized before the end of the year. Today’s new proposal would ensure that the heaviest passenger vans and SUVs that have only recently been marketed and exceed 8,500 pounds would also meet the strict passenger vehicle standards proposed in May.

Together, smog and particulate matter in the United States account for 15,000 premature deaths, 1 million respiratory problems, 400,000 asthma attacks, and thousands of cases of aggravated asthma, especially in children. Motor vehicles generate about 30 percent of all emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds -- the pollution that causes smog.

EPA’s strategy to reduce pollution from the heaviest vehicles involves two phases. In the first phase, EPA today is proposing new engine standards beginning in 2004 for all trucks and SUVs over 8,500 pounds. The new standards would require gasoline trucks to be 78 percent cleaner and diesel trucks to be 40 percent cleaner than today’s models. A reduction also would be achieved in particulate matter of about 55,000 tons per year.

Then, in the second phase of its strategy, EPA plans to propose late this year or early next year even more stringent standards to again significantly reduce pollution from heavy duty trucks. That proposal could take effect as early as 2007 and would reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by between 75 and 90 percent beyond today’s proposal. Emissions of particulate matter could be reduced by 80 to 90 percent beyond today’s proposal.

Also, in order to enable new emissions-control technology on heavy trucks, EPA will be proposing, in the second phase of its strategy, a reduction in the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel of approximately 90 percent from its current level of 500 ppm. EPA already has proposed to significantly reduce sulfur levels in gasoline.

There will be a public hearing regarding today’s proposal -- the first phase of the strategy -- on Nov. 2 in Philadelphia. Following the public hearing, there will be a 30 day comment period. Instructions on submitting written comments are in the Federal Register notice. The proposed rule and related documents are available electronically via the EPA Internet site at: http://www.epa.gov/oms/hd-hwy.htm


R-121 ###