CARB gives overview of emission cutting measures to come

| 12/14/2007
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The California Air Resources Board is fleshing out ways in which the environmental agency will regulate greenhouse gases from six sectors, including transportation. This pie chart shows that 74 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions come from passenger vehicles, while heavy duty trucks, buses, motor vehicles and others combine to emit about 20 percent.



California car drivers should drive more efficiently, use mass transit and look for hybrids and other emission-busting technologies, the California Air Resources Board announced Friday.

Unfortunately for truckers, that’s not where the environmental agency stopped.

CARB regulators displayed a broad overview of the agency’s plans to stem emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases including several initiatives aimed at heavy duty diesel trucks.

CARB plans to roll out multiple regulations, voluntary measures and incentives over the next few years that the agency believes will cut emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

New efforts include exploring additional idling limits beyond next year’s five-minute truck idling limit, the requirement of efficient tires, alternative fuels and tire-inflation systems.

Other emission cuts are expected to come with the expected adoption of a mandatory requirement of the Environmental Protection Agency’s voluntary Smartway Truck Efficiency program and a statewide requirement requiring retro-fits of in-use trucks by October 2008.

California will impose a five-minute idling limit next year, going beyond previous limits that exempted idling while drivers were sleeping. Also, next year truck models require an engine shutoff function be enabled in the truck’s ECM.

The report showed that 74 percent of greenhouse gases emitted in California were from cars and light trucks, whereas 20 percent of greenhouse gases come from gas and diesel-powered heavy-duty vehicles. That heavy-duty group also included buses and motor homes.

“A big piece of the pie is from light-duty vehicles,” acknowledged CARB’s Sharon Lemieux, an agency staff member.

Concluding Friday’s presentation on transportation, CARB staffers mentioned the possible use of a cap and trade system to cut emissions. Cap and trade systems set emission standards and issue credits for individuals or businesses below the standard, allowing the credits to be bought by businesses who don’t otherwise comply.

CARB also is working to create a low-carbon fuel standard for gasoline and diesel, and plans to have the board consider approving such a standard by late 2008.

CARB wants to triple the fuel efficiency of all on-road vehicles, and will continue developing ways to cut emissions, Lemieux said.

“We’re very experienced in looking at technology and getting to the lowest emissions in a very cost-effective way,” Lemieux said.

– by Charlie Morasch, staff writer