Diesel pollution fouls the air and contributes to climate warming, but the road forward in Oregon will be cleaner with the adoption of rules that will help reduce toxic emissions from big rigs, school buses and delivery vans.
The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission recently adopted the Advanced Clean Truck and Heavy-Duty Omnibus rules. Together, the rules will cut harmful nitrogen oxide and particulate matter pollution by requiring the production of more medium- and heavy-duty trucks powered by electricity and all new diesel-burning engines to meet stricter emission standards beginning in 2024.
The decision comes two days after President Biden signed the infrastructure bill that will deliver more than $50 million over the next five years to Oregon for expansion of its electric vehicle charging network.
“From the Coast Range to the high desert, Oregonians can breathe a bit easier with the adoption of these new clean truck rules,” said Sam Wilson, senior vehicles analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Increasing the availability of zero-emission trucks and delivery vans will help to reduce climate warming and toxic air pollution from Oregon’s roads and highways.”
Oregon follows California in adopting these rules, with five other states – Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington – now considering taking similar action.
UCS research shows that while heavy-duty vehicles represent just 13 percent of vehicles on Oregon’s roads, they contribute 42 percent of global warming emissions and are responsible for 70 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions and 64 percent of fine particulate pollution from the state’s on-road transportation sector.
The new Oregon rules will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from trucks by more than half and generate billions of dollars in societal benefits by 2050 including public health cost savings, according to an independent report by M.J. Bradley & Associates commissioned by UCS and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“Oregon’s leadership in transitioning away from diesel engines towards cleaner electric options will improve public health and should encourage other states now considering similar actions,” Wilson said.