Release 05-04      

January 31, 2005


Jerry Martin
Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990
ARB Begins Enforcement of Idling Vehicle Rule

-- The California Air Resources Board today announced it will begin enforcing its idling truck rules on February 1, 2005.

Catherine Witherspoon, ARB Executive Officer, said, "Emissions from idling diesel vehicles create needless air pollution that threatens public health. Idling trucks and buses add to air pollution levels without providing any benefit to the community. It's time we eliminate this unneeded, unwanted source of air pollution."

The new rule will be enforced primarily by ARB diesel truck inspectors, who inspect smoking trucks and buses for tampering and mal-maintenance to engines that can increase emissions, however, local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol can also issue citations. The rule will apply to any truck idling for more than five minutes and any bus idling for more than ten minutes when either are not engaged in work activities. Similar to other ARB rules, the idling rule will be applied to any truck or bus operating within the state's borders regardless of where they were registered.

The rule follows a similar ARB effort to control emissions from idling vehicles near schools that went into effect in 2003. That rule requires school buses and other heavy-duty vehicle operators to turn off their engines immediately whenever they are within 100 feet of a school.

Like the school rule, the ARB expects that most operators will comply with the rule simply to reduce fuel costs. According to ARB data, the average diesel heavy-duty engine burns about one gallon of fuel per hour as it idles. Therefore, ARB inspectors will focus on instructing drivers to the advantages of shutting their engines when the vehicles are not in use. Newer engines using modern diesel fuels don't need to idle between stops to prevent poor operation as older vehicles once needed.

The idling rules are among a series of rules adopted by the ARB as part of its Diesel Risk Reduction Plan, that is designed to cut diesel emissions by 75 percent from 2000 levels by 2010. The ARB is not the first to adopt idling rules, to date 20 other states and cities have enacted such rules. For more information, please click here.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.