On March 1, the Pennsylvania Senate passed SB 254, a bill sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw and supported by PMTA that would suspend the enforcement of California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions regulations for heavy-duty trucks through MY26. The bill also protects businesses from legal challenge by third parties if they are complying with EPA standards during the suspension.
This bill is a continuation of PMTA’s efforts, in cooperation with legislative allies, to address concerns raised by members in late 2021 about steep and unexpected cost increases in 2022 truck orders. After making inquiries, PMTA determined that the increases were the result of a regulation promulgated nearly 20 years ago by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Projection (DEP), which 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 Emission Control Program automatically updates to adopt the California rules.
As a result, no action is needed on the part of Pennsylvania to adopt CARB requirements going into effect for heavy-duty trucks. The cost increase for 2022 trucks sold in Pennsylvania was the result of the significant extension of warranty requirements for new trucks in the CARB regulations. Previously, the warranty period for class 4 through 8 trucks was five years, 100,000 miles or 3,000 operation hours, whichever came first. In 2022, the five-year limit was unchanged under CARB, but the required warranty was extended to:
- · 350,000 miles for class 8 vehicles
- · 150,000 for class 6 and 7 vehicles, and
- · 110,000 for class 4 and 5 vehicles
The extension of these warranty requirements resulted in significant increases in the cost of new trucks.
In response to PMTA’s members’ concerns about these cost increases that have no beneficial impact on the environment, DEP issued a notice in November 2021 that the agency would not be enforcing CARB requirements in PA until at least July 31, 2023.
However, many PMTA members remained concerned that DEP’s notice was insufficient to prevent legal challenges for companies for not complying with CARB. Therefore, PMTA pursued a legislative solution that would give the suspension the force of law. Two bills passed their respective chambers last year but were not considered in the other chamber before the legislative session expired: HB 2075, sponsored by state Rep. Jerry Knowles, and SB 1030, sponsored by Sen. Gene Yaw.
PMTA supports the overall repeal of the California air pollution control standards in Pennsylvania to prevent further costly emissions mandates from affecting the industry. However, with DEP’s CARB suspension set to expire July 31, 2023, action is urgently needed now to provide certainty for the industry in Pennsylvania and control the cost of new trucks for businesses in the state this year.
SB 254 is a reintroduction of Sen. Yaw’s bill that passed the Senate last year. This bill, which suspends CARB through MY26, will now be considered by the PA House of Representatives. PMTA members are urged to contact their state House member to support SB 254.