Vehicle emission reduction equipment requirements

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Emission reduction equipment requirements are policies that require vehicles to have specific equipment which aid in reducing toxic emissions into the atmosphere. These policies are put into place safeguard the environment by reducing the volatile substances which enter the atmosphere especially through fossil fuel sources. Common substances which are detrimental to air quality include SO2, NOx, ozone, and particulate matter. Off road vehicles used for construction and agriculture are also considered under policies regarding equipment requirements. Emission reduction equipment requirements policies are historically implemented at the national level, typically in conjunction with overall clean air policies and actions. The policies are most effective when they include local and state government participation to further limit and monitor emission activity.



Conceptual Example

Local city roads are undergoing multiple road reconstruction projects and therefore have many construction vehicles adding to the production of emissions within the city. To combat this problem and increase emission reductions, the city adopts this policy which will require all construction vehicles to use ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel) as well as be equipped with the most current EPA approved diesel engine.

Specific Example

Through the passing of Local Law 77, New York City pushed to combat emissions production by requiring that contractors who were working on the Twin Towers meet a minimum emission standard by using emission control devices to reduce pollution effects of the project. There were concerns about how this would be enforced; thus, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) created a web tool called the Clean Diesel Clearing House which helps contractors and people monitoring the health of city air to learn how certain equipment pieces affect the air quality.



Tradeoffs of implementing this policy may include:

  1. Reduction in local construction
  2. Price of replacing engines
  3. Price of investing in new technology
  4. Continued reliance on fossil fuels rather than alternatives
  5. Difficult to enforce
Compatibility Assessment

Compatibility Assessment.png

If answered yes, the following questions indicate superior conditions under which the policy is more likely to be appropriate:

  1. Have harmful air emissions contributed to public health issues?
  2. Does the city or town endure large amounts of construction or congestion?
  3. Do air quality monitors indicate negative results?
  4. Has there been public opinion indicating desire for environmental reforms?
  5. Does smog exist and has it effected weather or water quality of the city or town?


Assuming that a jurisdiction has decided to adopt the policy, the following questions will need to be answered when determining how to implement this policy:

  1. What are the main targets of the emission reduction equipment requirements?
    1. Specific targets of the requirements would be large construction sites as well as any non-road motor vehicles such as trucks.
  2. Is the cost of emission reduction equipment worth the benefits?
    1. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 have set out stricter standards for the improvement of air quality. Since the reforms, SO2 emissions have fallen by about 70% and lead has fallen by 99%. Studies predict that by 2020, the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments will have saved $2 trillion in economic benefits.
  3. Will changing this policy have a significant increase on public health?
    1. Since the Clean Air Act Amendments, there have been significant impacts on human health. By 2020, results from the amendments will have saved 4.2 million lives.
  4. What can be done to retrofit the process?
    1. Dated engines have been called for replacement to a new model by multiple city and county governments.
    2. Investment in clean diesel (ULSD).
  5. What is the benefit to those who must follow new regulations?
    1. Increase in public health as well as the working environment
    2. Appreciation and recommendations of industry which uses sustainable practices.



  • Notable entities who have implemented or adopted this policy include:
  1. Chicago, IL – requires contractors to receive “Green Fleet Score”, made to reduce emissions
  2. Los Angeles, CA – all trucks must have a 2007 model year engine
  3. Oakland, CA – prohibits trucks with 1993 engine or lower. Additionally, those trucks who purchase alternative fueled trucks can receive funding through the Goods Movement Emission Reduction Funding Program.
  4. Seattle, WA – recommends trucks to have 1994 engine or newer.
  5. Port of Houston, TX – encourage trucks to seek eligibility though the Texas Emissions Reduction Program.




  • Advocates – Alternative Energy. Assumption: Reducing fossil fuel emissions opens options to cleaner fuel sources.
  • Advocates – Environmental Protect. Assumption: Decreasing air pollution with increase atmospheric health.
  • Constituent Groups – Local Residents, Student Groups. Assumption: Will appreciate cleaner air quality.
  • Government Agencies – Environmental Protection. Assumption: Decrease air pollution and improve quality of life.



  • Associations – Building and Construction. Assumption: Wouldn’t appreciate restrictions which interfere with or prolong job completion.
  • Advocates – Urbanism. Assumption: More stringent regulations could interfere with urban growth.
  • Constituent Groups – Automobile Clubs and Owners. Assumption: Needing newer emission reduction parts in their car could be costly.
  • Government Agencies – Motor Vehicles. Assumption: Would not support the additional money required to keep up with standards.







Angelides, Christina. "The 1990 Clean Air Act Will Save 4.2 Million Lives by 2020 ..." March 01, 2011. Accessed October 24, 2016.

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