It was a decision 10 years in the making. On Thursday the California Air Resources Board finally approved new regulations that will dramatically reduce Nitrogen Oxide emissions in the state.

The unanimous decision will phase in new regulations on heavy-duty diesel trucks and require manufacturers to comply with tougher emissions standards, overhaul engine testing procedures, and extend engine warranties.

Heavy duty diesel engines produce high levels of NOx during “low load” conditions, such as idling, moving slowing, or making frequent stops. Current regulations do not effectively control these pollutants. There are about 1 million heavy-duty trucks on road in California today, and sales of approximately 25,000 heavy duty trucks each year. 

Manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks have several engineering options to comply with the new rules, according to CARB. Strategies include better engine calibration, improvements to selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, and new fuel-saving technologies like cylinder deactivation that also enable much lower NOx emissions.

When fully implemented in 2026, the newly approved standards will reduce NOx emissions by 90 percent or more when trucks are operating under these low load conditions, which is the equivalent of taking 16 million light duty vehicles off the road. The omnibus regulations apply to California-certified vehicles sold starting in 2024 and will increase the cost of a truck by less than 6{d93457022679712214ff8a8035fa266341f9634f2c93d5e609b1bbb089e8c446}, according to a spokesperson.

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