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Contact: Kevin R. Malone
1399 American Pacific Dr.
Henderson, NV 89014
Office: (702) 486-1311
Cellular: (702) 499-4278

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  December 30, 2002
NEWS FROM: Compliance Enforcement Division

DMV Enforces New Diesel Emissions Standards
Visible Smoke Must Be Reduced

Diesel trucks and buses on Nevada highways will have to comply with stricter emissions standards beginning January 1, 2003. New limits on the visible smoke in diesel exhaust were enacted by the Nevada State Environmental Commission earlier this year. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has been issuing only verbal courtesy warnings since October but will now issue citations to violators.

“These new emissions limits will not only help clean the air, but will also help trucking companies improve their fuel efficiency and reduce operating costs,” says Russ Benzler, the Administrator of DMV’s Compliance Enforcement Division. “Our goal is voluntary compliance. Fortunately, Nevada’s trucking industry has been very supportive of random opacity testing since the program began in 2000. Its continued support will help the state meet its air quality goals and help everyone breathe a little easier.”

The new standards on smoke opacity implement a tiered structure. Exhaust from trucks with engines manufactured in 1991 or later must block no more than 40 percent of the light passing through it. Engines made between 1977 and 1990 are held to a standard of 55 percent opacity. Engines made between 1970 and 1976 must meet an opacity standard of 70 percent.

Previously, all trucks with engines 1977 or newer were held to the 70 percent standard. The new limits are more in line with the opacity standards recommended by the EPA and enacted by many states, including all of Nevada’s neighbors. The opacity standards apply to all trucks and buses with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 8,500 pounds or greater. It applies in all 17 Nevada counties and to vehicles registered in other states as well as Nevada.

Using data from past tests, the department estimates that 36 percent of Nevada-registered trucks and buses do not meet the new standards. Heavy-duty diesel trucks are not required to undergo annual emission inspections in Nevada, but the department does conduct random testing and inspections at weigh stations, fleet yards and on the road side. Citations are issued but fines are waived for a first offense if the vehicle is repaired within 45 days.

The purpose of the new standards and the diesel enforcement program is to reduce excessive smoke emissions from the heavy-duty vehicles that travel on Nevada’s streets and highways. In addition, well maintained engines operate at maximum fuel efficiency, which reduces operating costs and helps promote a positive image for the industry.

Diesel exhaust is one of the largest man-made sources of fine particulate matter in air pollution. Particulate matter can aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and other heart and lung conditions. Children are generally more sensitive to air pollution because they breathe 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults.

Nationally, the federal government and truck manufacturers are making substantial progress in reducing diesel emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a deadline of 2006 for fuel refiners to cut the sulfur content of diesel fuel by 97 percent. This ultra-low sulfur fuel combined with advanced pollution control technology will mean that in 2007, new trucks and buses will be up to 95 percent cleaner than even the latest current models.

DMV operates smoking vehicle hotlines and will investigate reports of excessive smoke from any vehicle registered in Nevada. The phone numbers for the Smoking Vehicle Observation Report are 686-SMOG in Washoe County and 642-SMOG in Clark County.