Lawsuit: PA Trucking Industry Fighting Strict 2024 Emissions Standards

PA Trucking Industry Fighting Strict 2024 CMV Emissions Standards By Suing Government

The Advanced Clean Truck Regulation would require that by 2045, every truck sold in Pennsylvania be zero-emission.

There is controversy around Pennsylvania’s rolling absorption of California’s new heavy diesel emission and extended warranty standards is lawful and the PMTA, along with four of its members, are suing the government to stop it.

“Why a state would turn over its own legislative and regulatory authority to another state just doesn’t make much sense to me,” said Rebecca Oyler, President of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association. “So, I think there is a really valid challenge to that law.”

If the lawsuit succeeds, the law will likely default to the federal government’s regulations, which Rebecca Oyler also believes are concerning as well.

But what did Pennsylvania government do and how will it affect the trucking industry in the Commonwealth?

History of CARB in PA

Let’s start with a quick history lesson.

California has the unique power to design its own vehicle emissions standards due to the 1970 federal Clean Air Act that gave California authority to deal with smog around Los Angeles. The state created CARB, or the California Air Resources Board, to manage these rules.

No other state can adopt their own emission standards. Instead, they have two options:

  1. Use California’s stricter rules, or
  2. Use the federal rules

Today, there are 16 other states who have either adopted, or are in the process of adopting, California’s strict emissions standards.

In a regulation nearly 20 years ago, PA Department of Environmental Protections (DEP) adopted CARB’s emissions standards by reference for diesel-powered vehicles weighing over 14,000 lbs.

As a result, any time CARB revises its rules, Pennsylvania’s Heavy-Duty Diesel Emissions Control Program “automatically updates” to adopt the California rules.

While this is interesting, it is the latest strict regulations that CARB has adopted that are causing havoc.

What is Changing in PA?

In August 2022, CARB adopted a 2020 executive order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom for zero emissions by 2035, relying on vehicle technologies, such as plug-in hybrid electric-vehicles, battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric, to meet air quality and climate change emissions standards.

These regulations also include increasingly stringent standards for gasoline cars and heavier passenger trucks to continue to reduce smog-forming emissions.

Pennsylvania’s Rolling Diesel Regulations automatically incorporated changes to the California Code, which now imposes a schedule of progressively more stringent emission standards for Model Year 2024−2031 vehicles.

Pennsylvania DEP has temporarily suspended enforcement of California’s new standards and extended warranty changes but intends to begin enforcing new standards beginning with Model Year 2027 vehicles and engines.

The coming changes:

  • 2022−2026 model year engines: Previously, California Code required warranty coverage for the first 100,000 miles, but new standards require warranty coverage for up to 110,000, 150,000, or 350,000 miles—depending on the weight class of the vehicle.
  • 2027−2031 model year engines: new standards will require warranty coverage for up to 150,000, 220,000, or 450,000 miles.
  • 2031+ model year engines: new standards will require coverage for up to 210,000, 280,000, or 600,000 miles.
  • Previously, California Code only required warranty coverage for the first five years, but new standards will require coverage for up to seven years beginning with model year 2027 engines and will require coverage for up to ten years beginning with model year 2031 engines.
  • Previously, California Code only required warranty coverage for the first 3,000 operating hours, but new standards will require warranty coverage for up to 30,000 hours for some heavy diesel engines when model year 2031 vehicles come to market.

Who Will It Hurt?

The Pennsylvania trucking industry is hurt by California’s new heavy diesel emission and extended warranty standards because they are placed at a competitive disadvantage with competitors in other states who do not have to contend with California’s unwieldy regulatory standards.

PMTA members are injured because it will cost more for them to buy California-compliant trucks with extended warranties.

For example, Peters Brothers does not want to purchase extended California warranties for its new trucks. Peters Brothers replace approximately 13 trucks each year, which means they must pay a huge chunk of extra money for warranties the company neither wants nor needs. This added burden alone has the family reluctantly, but seriously, considering buying their trucks in Wisconsin, where they have another hub.

Pennsylvania truck dealers like Transteck and MTE will lose existing customers and sales opportunities if Pennsylvania trucking companies begin buying heavy diesel trucks in other states to avoid unnecessary extended warranty requirements.

Olyer said 70% of goods move by truck, many multiple times through the supply chain from raw materials to wholesalers to retailers.

“The costs increase at each step so Pennsylvania consumers will see increases in consumer goods and services,” she said.

You can follow the lawsuit here.

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