The Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to update the existing federal regulations for heavy-duty trucks, with the aim of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions.

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EPA-logoDubbed the “Clean Truck Initiative”, it will require truck makers and diesel engine manufacturers to reduce NOx emissions to comply with a new stricter standard by 2020.

Speaking at a live conference, acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler says the new initiative aims to streamline compliance and certification requirements, while updating the NOx regulations for heavy-duty trucks, which was last set in 2001.

According to Wheeler, “the Cleaner Trucks Initiative will help modernize heavy-duty truck engines, improving their efficiency, and providing cleaner air for all Americans.” He further stated that while the country has made major inroads in lowering NOx levels, “it’s been nearly 20 years since EPA updated these standards.”

According to the agency, NOx emissions fell over 40% over the past decade. However, their estimates show that heavy-duty trucks will account for one-third of all NOx emissions in the transportation sector by 2025, hence the need for the initiative.

Apart from stricter standards, the EPA pointed out that the move will “cut unnecessary red tape while simplifying certification of compliance requirements for heavy-duty trucks and engines.” The agency says that areas of potential deregulation will include “onboard diagnostic requirements, cost-effective means of reassuring real world compliance by using modern and advanced technologies, the deterioration factor testing process, and concerns regarding annual recertification of engine families.”

The announcement had a positive reception in the truck industry.

Diesel engine maker Cummins as well as the Diesel Technology Forum both released statements of support for the new initiative. The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association called it a “tremendous opportunity” for a “collaborative, open regulatory process involving all stakeholders., while the American Truck Associations says it “favors a single national emission pathway as opposed to a patchwork of state standards”.

Watch the full announcement below.