Are Diesel Trucks Illegal?

Diesel trucks are part of a way of life for many. From workhorse ranch pickups to supply chain semis, these machines help transport humans and various products both food and otherwise. Diesel trucks have been the subject of conversation for years. Massive emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. When will hybrid and EV take over? Are Diesel trucks banned anywhere yet? How long will it be until these engines are illegal for good?

Who wants to ban diesel trucks?

According to Interesting Engineering, there are several countries that wish to eliminate the manufacture of new diesel vehicles within the next 10-20 years. Norway plans to eliminate diesel manufacturing by 2025. The United Kingdom and France plan to implement changes that will ultimately phase out diesel by 2040.

dark exhaust billowing out of a diesel pickup truck
A diesel truck spews black exhaust | George Rose/Getty Images

India also plans to have diesel engines eliminated from manufacturing lines, but they hope to have this accomplished by 2030. According to the article by Interesting Engineering, India already promotes the buying of hybrid or electric cars over their fuel-burning alternatives. Japan, Taiwan, and China all have plans in the works to ban diesel as well.

Where are they already banned?

The entire country of Belgium waits to roll laws out over the entire country. However, Brussels already banned diesel emissions within the city. Violation of the emissions regulations can incur a fine, according to Interesting Engineering.

a diesel fuel cap
Tank cap on a forklift Klitten, Germany | Getty Images

According to CDL Life, California passed some new terms in June 2020. “California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed a landmark regulation that will force truck manufacturers to make the switch to zero-emissions models,” reports CDL Life. This means that in the state of California, zero-emissions will become the new standard, getting rid of manufacturing diesel trucks and other diesel vehicles.

The nation of Costa Rica, which has a reputation for its very environmentally focused government, also aims to go green. The Costa Rican president, Carlos Alvarado, made some big promises. Costa Rica aspires to become a “fossil fuel free” country––originally expected within the next year or so. Now, things are uncertain. Still, this inevitably impacts the use of diesel trucks. Hybrid and EV production will likely dominate countries like this in a matter of time.

a Volkswagen Diesel engine spews black exhaust
A Diesel Volkswagen | VW

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The EPA and emissions deviants

It’s no secret that some try skirting emissions regulations. Altering diesel emissions systems is against US regulation. Earlier this year, some manufacturers of illegal aftermarket products that tamper with emissions systems were held accountable and settled for over $180,000. A detailed report of this case is on the EPA website.

“Conservative EPA estimates indicate that the installation of the defeat devices from a single year of product sales by these three companies resulted in an estimated 49 million pounds more air pollution than would have otherwise been emitted.”

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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Are diesel engines illegal?

In short, no. Diesel engines are not illegal. However, as regulations tighten across the US and around the globe, manufacturing diesel engines will become unlawful. Changes encourage carmakers to promote the sale of hybrids and EVs. Additionally, more efforts move to eliminate diesel manufacturing.

A man demonstrates how the batteries of the electric truck are charged. Hybrid and EV domination is on the horizon.
A man charges the batteries of the electric truck | Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

But, these changes affect many lives and livelihoods. From the rancher who hauls horses to the rodeo to the long term career semi-truck driver to the landscape design company to the auto enthusiast who drives a classic Mercedes, many people work with diesel engines every day.

Diesel engines and their uses abound. However, over the next decade or so, all of that is about to change. Electric and hybrid versions of these familiar trucks will become the norm. Diesel cars and trucks will become a thing of the past.