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What is the Future of Emission Standards for Heavy Duty Trucks?

Emission standards has always been a tricky subject. It falls in a gray zone between state and federal regulation, and it also has a historical gap between legislation and enforcement. But California is currently in the process of creating stricter emission standards on a state level after petitioning the EPA about federal standards.

What will this new legislation do?

Right now, the measure would apply $1 billion of the carbon cap-and-trade's funds to heavy trucks and buses. Rather than penalizing drivers with older model vehicles, the push could focus on helping owners upgrade to more efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. While the trucking sector is California is currently behind the national average when it comes to adopting greener technology, this increased funding might pave the way for improvement. Not only will the amount be three times more than the previous year's dedicated funding towards improving diesel emissions, but Volkswagon will be adding another $423 million to incentivize the purchase of newer diesel models.

Will the legislation work?

Right now, the proposal is simply that; there's no bill or legislation set in stone. But even if the state passes it or similar legislation, the national impact is unclear. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently facing a potential 30% budget cut as well as relaxed emission standards. Increased emissions regulation on the state level could lead to further sectionalizing of the industry: vehicles that meet minimum standards will handle cargo in California and other states calling for stricter regulation while other owner-operators will be pushed to less regulated states.