Truckers in the Midwest are worried that Illinois will be joining California and New York in introducing new nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions standards to lower air pollution levels, as well as creating a voucher program for electric vehicles. State legislators are basically copying existing regulations of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) into what they call the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule and Heavy Duty Low-NOx Omnibus Rule (HDO).
If you can’t beat them, copy them!
“Freight is a major part of the Chicago area economy, but air pollution caused by diesel emissions disproportionately harms Black and Latino communities in the region This report shows how the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule and the NOx Omnibus rule will set Illinois on the path towards achieving zero-emission freight and mitigating the negative impacts of diesel-powered vehicles.”José Acosta Córdova, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (an MIT think tank) commissioned a report supporting the move to no- and low-emission trucks and buses in Illinois. The report detailed three policy scenarios Illinois could adopt. Two nearly clone the California regulations, like requiring ever-increasing numbers of new trucks to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).
Everyone likes “free” government vouchers
“Free” vouchers are an excellent honeypot to use to get outliers to change their business practices. CARB announced on July 18 that it has $125 million in funding available through its Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project (CORE) for point-of-sale discounts on purchases of zero-emissions equipment.
These vouchers are up to $500,000 per vehicle or equipment unit as point-of-sale. Recharging/refueling (hydrogen, recycled natural gas) infrastructure or purchases for operations in disadvantaged communities can apply for larger vouchers.
“Rather the carrot, than the stick”
Illinois could soon add voucher programs like CORE to the list of ways to get companies to change their fleet compositions toward more Low NOx/EV vehicles. They would rather “lead with the carrot than the stick,” avoiding regulations to force companies to transition to new technologies through regulations.
That could cause companies to leave the state, costing Illinois valuable tax revenue. Many of the “pet projects” we see around the Green New Deal demand copious amounts of tax dollars to pay for them. One example is that high speed rail project in California that went from $9 billion to $105 billion.