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. As a result of the emission reduction policy, companies and vehicle owners will inevitable look for the cheapest equipment available to comply with the policy; thus, market forces will lead to the competitive production of the cheapest and most effiencent equipment.



Conceptual Example

The national government is looking to reduce its overall greenhouse gas emissions in order to increase public and environmental health. To begin the execution of this goal, it has required that automobile manufacturers use specified emission reduction equipment in the creation of all new cars. Additionally, the government has ordered that trucks, tractors and large, high-carbon emitting vehicles reduce their CO2 emissions by a certain rate within a five year time period.

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. [1]



Tradeoffs of implementing this policy may include:

  1. Reduction in local construction resulting from increased cost to upgrade equipment of multiple construction vehicles to be in compliance with new policy.
  2. Cost of transition: replacing or updating older engines and unsustainable equipment with newer, more efficient technology.
  3. Possible job loss due to decrease in local construction.
  4. Continued reliance on fossil fuels by merely promoting their decreased and more efficient use, rather than pushing for alternatives with a less harmful impact on the environment.
  5. Project is difficult to enforce due to the specificity of requirements at an individual automobile's level.
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?
  6. Is it cost-effective to implement emission reduction equipment?
  7. Does the technology to outfit vehicles with emission reduction equipment exist and is it readily accessible?


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 types of vehicles and sources of emissions will be subject to the 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. Additionally, since the year 2010, all automobiles require a catalytic converter to be up to standards. [2]
  2. What equipment will be required?
    1. Equipment for standard vehicles focuses on incorporation of catalytic converters.
    2. New fuel requirements will be imposed on diesel fuel manufacturers. [3]
    3. Diesel engines will be required to meet certain emission standards based on their horsepower. Specific information can be found at:
  3. 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.
  4. Will changing this policy have a significant increase on public health?
    1. Particulate matter has caused the following health problems: difficulty breathing, coughing, decreased lung function, asthma, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature death. New regulations will reduce particulate matter in the air and increase health of citizens.
  5. 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).
  6. 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. City of Chicago – requires contractors to receive “Green Fleet Score”, made to reduce emissions [5]
  2. City of Los Angeles– all trucks must have a 2007 model year engine [6]
  3. City of Oakland – 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. [7]
  4. City of Seattle – recommends trucks to have 1994 engine or newer. [8]
  5. City of Houston – encourage trucks to seek eligibility though the Texas Emissions Reduction Program. [9]









Roads toward a low-carbon future: Reducing CO2 emissions from passenger vehicles in the global road transportation system]. (2009, March). McKinsey&Company, 1-36. Retrieved November 21, 2016. This report details how policymakers have been increasing their efforts to decrease the effects of carbon dioxide.



  1. "Why Retrofit? | Diesel Technology Forum." Accessed October 24, 2016.
  2. Thomas, B. G. (2013). What Materials are Used in Catalytic Converters? Retrieved November 21, 2016, from
  3. Lewis, P., Rasdorf, W., Frey, H., Pang, S., and Kim, K. (2009). "Requirements and Incentives for Reducing Construction Vehicle Emissions and Comparison of Nonroad Diesel Engine Emissions Data Sources." J. Constr. Eng. Manage., 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000008, 341-351.
  4. INSERT a reference.
  5. "Why Retrofit? | Diesel Technology Forum." Accessed October 24, 2016.
  6. "Why Retrofit? | Diesel Technology Forum." Accessed October 24, 2016.
  7. "Why Retrofit? | Diesel Technology Forum." Accessed October 24, 2016.
  8. "Why Retrofit? | Diesel Technology Forum." Accessed October 24, 2016.
  9. "Why Retrofit? | Diesel Technology Forum." Accessed October 24, 2016.
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