With an ever-increasing commitment to cleaner air quality at all governmental levels, it's only a matter of time before emissions credit programs become commonplace.

Manufacturers are developing new engines to meet more stringent emission rules that were scheduled to become effective in 2002.

In 1998 the five major U.S. engine manufacturers negotiated with the U.S. EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) and signed a consent decree that established engine emissions limits. The agreement outlined three tiers of increasingly stringent limits.

Engine manufacturers complied with the first tier of tighter standards by offering electronic engines exclusively. Current electronic models, now the mainstay of most fleets, are not only more fuel-efficient but they also emit lower quantities of pollutants.

The second tier of tighter emissions standards was due to take effect in October 2002. Manufacturers have agreed to reduce current levels of many pollutants, including a 38% reduction in non-methane hydrocarbons for engines used in all on-highway trucks.

In April 2001 Cummins released results of research on a new engine technology.

The company reports that its cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology will not only allow new models to meet Tier 2 emissions standards by the deadline but also improve other engine performance characteristics. The article includes information about the U.S. EPA's directory of more than 70 incentive programs through which local enforcement agencies have attempted to solve significant problems by working with both public- and private-sector organizations.