New Law Will Reduce Harmful Emissions From Heavy-duty Diesel Vehicles

William J. Larkin, Jr.

December 07, 2006

This week, Senator Bill Larkin reports to residents that New York State will have a new law this winter that will require the use of ultra low sulfur diesel fuel in heavy-duty diesel vehicles owned, operated or leased by the State.

"This new law promotes cleaner air in New York State," said Senator Larkin. "By reducing the amount of harmful pollution from diesel vehicles, we are actively working to protect the environment and the public’s health."

New York will receive assistance from the Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program. The program provides financial support to states to help improve air quality and will provide funding for up to 80 percent of the costs of implementing tailpipe emissions controls such as diesel exhaust retrofits.

Under this new law, on- and off-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles – those weighing 8,500 pounds or more – that are owned, operated, or leased by a state agency or public authority will be required to be powered by ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. In addition, many of these vehicles also will be required to use the Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) to reduce the emissions of pollutants. The new law takes effect on February 12, 2007. BART will be phased in beginning in 2008, and all affected vehicles will be required to utilize this technology by December 31, 2010.

Diesel is the dominant fuel used in our nation’s commercial transportation sector, with more than 90 percent of all freight transported by diesel power.

Ultra low sulfur diesel fuel has a sulfur content of 15 parts per million or less. It significantly reduces emissions of nitrogen oxides, a major contributor to ground level ozone, acid rain and particulate matter. These pollutants are linked to respiratory problems such as asthma, and are especially dangerous to children, elderly individuals, and pregnant women.