2019: Time to clean up diesel with HB2007


Diesel pollution is one of Oregon’s greatest toxic air pollution problems, costing us billions in lost lives and health care costs across the state. Years ago, Oregon set a goal of reducing diesel pollution to meet the state’s health benchmark. Today, we are only 2% of the way towards achieving our goal.

This legislative session, 16 legislators, including champions Representative Power and Senator Dembrow, introduced HB 2007 to accelerate diesel clean-up. The amended version, HB 2007-B will be the 2nd strongest state-level diesel legislation in the country:

Phase out old on-road engines

The most effective way to reduce diesel pollution is to accelerate the uptake of cleaner engines. The bill will phase out old diesel engines in trucks in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties. By 2023, all diesel-powered medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks must run on an engine that is 1997 or newer. By 2029, all diesel-powered medium-duty trucks and publicly owned heavy-duty trucks must run on an engine that is 2010 or newer and all privately owned diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks must run on an engine that is 2007 or newer. Trucks may comply by switching to a cleaner fuel or by using retrofit technology to capture emissions, and there are a few exemptions (e.g., farm vehicles and emergency vehicles). (Note: this bill does not affect pickup trucks.)

Stop the addition of old trucks to fleets

Because it will take several years to phase out old dirty diesel engines, it is important to keep the problem from getting worse in the meantime. As of 2025, the bill will stop the purchase in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties of engines older than 2010 for medium-duty trucks and engines older than 2007 for heavy-duty trucks.

Clean up construction equipment

Off-road diesel engines like construction equipment are a major source of diesel pollution. Although the bill does not set standards for off-road engines, it will instigate clean-up by requiring that for state-funded construction projects in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties costing $20 million or more, at least 80% of the vehicles and equipment be clean (with truck engines that are 2010 or newer and off-road engines that meets Tier 4, the highest standards). The bill also encourages display of a sticker on construction equipment showing the the emissions profile of the engine.

Use Volkswagen (VW) settlement funds to clean up diesel engines

The bill will distribute the remaining VW settlement funds via grants (the first round went to school buses in 2017). Preference will be given to support clean-up of trucks that are subject to the phase-out and trucks and equipment used on big state contracts; trucks with three years of remaining useful life; applicants intending to use cleaner fuels; and small businesses, disadvantaged business enterprises, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, and service-disabled owned-businesses.

Develop new funding strategies to support businesses in upgrading their fleets and recommendations for addressing diesel emissions statewide

The VW settlement dollars are very helpful, but don’t come close to representing the amount of funding California and Washington have allocated to support businesses in making the needed transition away from dirty diesel. The “Supporting Businesses in Reducing Diesel Emissions Task Force” will consider public funding strategies beyond the VW settlement.

The Oregon Department of Transportation will report on trends in truck registrations, and the Task Force will develop statewide incentive strategies and consider how to help small contractors overcome barriers to clean-up.