US Taxpayers Upgrade Mexican Trucks

Woohoo! Free mufflers!

NOGALES – Hundreds of big trucks cross the U.S.-Mexican border here every day, many more than once. On a busy day, the rigs idle for long stretches of time, waiting in line at the border, spewing exhaust through often-outdated mufflers that contribute to unhealthy levels of pollution.

For air-quality regulators, the border creates a legal barrier. State and federal agencies can’t force vehicles manufactured and bought in Mexico to comply with U.S. emissions rules, even though the trucks cross into this country.

So the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality tried a different approach, offering to pay Mexican truck owners to replace old mufflers with new catalytic converters that will reduce harmful diesel emissions by up to 30 percent. The project in effect circumvents the more lax Mexican rules about exhaust systems.

Using federal grant money, the state agency installed the new converters on 55 trucks last year and will refit about the same number by the middle of this year. The project is part of a broader initiative to improve air quality on both sides of the border, where towns and cities often lack resources or expertise to do it themselves.

Link to article.