Cutting Ozone Will Require Radical Transformation of California’s Trucking Industry

At a laboratory in downtown Los Angeles, a big rig spins its wheels on massive rollers as a metal tube funnels its exhaust into an array of air quality sensors. Engineers track the roaring truck’s emissions from a bank of computer screens.

The brand-new diesel truck is among the cleanest on the road, the engineers at the California Air Resources Board testing lab say. Even so, its 550-horsepower engine spews out more than 20 times the smog-forming nitrogen oxides of a typical gasoline-powered car — and that won’t be good enough for the state to meet stricter federal smog limits adopted this month.

Cutting ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog, to federal health standards while meeting state targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions will require a radical transformation of California’s transportation sector over the next two decades, air quality officials and experts say.

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