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Phil Taylor

ADR80/04 New Clean Diesel Trucks a win for public health, but what will be the operator uptake?

March 2017

Well before the release of these papers, back in 2015 in fact, I am pleased to advise that two Truck Industry Council (TIC) members released selected Euro VI models for sale in Australia. In 2016, this grew to four brands. These manufacturers will be joined by at least two more brands with Euro VI model offerings in 2017. This proactive action by TIC members is happening years before the likely mandated introduction of Euro VI for heavy vehicles, beyond 2020.

For many years now the Australian government has adopted the Euro emission standards within our Australian Design Rules (ADRs) and allowed Japanese and US emission standards as alternatives, where suitable standards exist. Typically our government has adopted these global emission standards within three to four years of their introduction overseas, however our move to Euro VI and equivalents has fallen well behind that of these key global regions. Ten years behind the USA, eight years behind Japan and five years behind Europe. For industry, the December 2016 announcement was not a surprise, having anticipated this announcement for some time now.

So why do truck emission standards continue to get more stringent and why should Australia introduce global standards here? There are a few reasons, but the most important is the benefit to public health. The US state of California has been at the forefront of reducing motor vehicle emissions for years now and, as detailed above, the US was the first country to move to a Euro VI–equivalent emission standard for cars and trucks. The US also leads the way with health studies into the sometimes harmful effects of exhaust emissions.

Back in 2010, the US released details of a landmark study into the effects of the health risks associated with exposure to traffic finding that:
• air pollution does impact human health and provides evidence that initiatives aimed at reducing pollution levels should be supported;
• children living within 500 metres of a major road or freeway were at greater risk of developing asthma;
• children already afflicted by asthma were likely to have their condition exacerbated;
• across all other age groups, new asthma cases were likely to be triggered; and
• the adult population faced greater likelihood of lung- and heart-related illness.

In Victoria alone, hundreds of thousands of Victorians live within 500 metres of major roads (Gough D. 2010, and, according to the findings of the Boston-based US Health Effects Institute (HEI) study in 2010, are at a greater risk of developing adverse health conditions. Then in 2015 the Advanced Collaborative Emission Study, again undertaken by HEI in the US, released findings of a laboratory testing into the effects of diesel particulate matter (PM, or black soot) emissions. The report detailed that diesel emission from Euro VI–equivalent truck engines did not cause any increase in the risk of lung cancer, or any other significant adverse health effects in the animals – laboratory rats – used in the study.

While TIC applauds governmental measures that will improve the health and safety of all Australians, the fact remains that 45 per cent of all trucks on our roads today have no – or only elementary – exhaust emission controls and are emitting pollutants at levels that are harmful to public health. Due to the mandated safety and environmental features that are adopted by government regulation on newer trucks, these vehicles are heavier and have reduced payload capacity; hence they are less productive for an operator than older, more polluting trucks. This productivity loss must be acknowledged by regulators during the review of Euro VI and TIC calls upon government to increase the statutory axle mass capacities for Euro VI trucks by an amount that will not only offset the additional weight of these new technologies, but also provide an effective productivity incentive for operators to take up new cleaner, greener and safer trucks.

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