Medium & Heavy Duty Vehicles

Medium duty vehicles include all passenger vehicles ranging from 8,501 pounds - 10,000 pounds according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Heavy duty vehicles" include trucks and tractor-trailers over 10,000 pounds. The Office of Air Resources oversees a variety of regulations, programs, and policies to limit emissions from medium and heavy duty vehicles.

EPA GVWR Vehicle Table
EPA's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) Table

Diesel motor vehicles may not idle unnecessarily for longer than five consecutive minutes during any 60-minute period. This includes heavy-duty diesel vehicles used to perform any state public works contracts. Unnecessary idling does not include circumstances exempted by law and regulations the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has adopted, such as when it is necessary to operate heating and cooling equipment to ensure the health or safety of drivers and passengers. Other vehicles exempt from these requirements include, but are not limited to, the following: 1) emergency response, public safety, or military vehicles; 2) armored vehicles being loaded or unloaded; 3) non-road vehicles; and 4) vehicles making deliveries of fuel or energy products. Violators of these regulations can be fined up to $100 for the first offense and up to $500 for each succeeding offense. (Reference Rhode Island General Laws 23-23-29.2 and 31-16.1)

  • The purpose of this requirement is to prevent unnecessary idling, conserve fuel, and reduce exposures to toxic vehicle exhaust.
  • Rhode Island incorporated this under its Air Pollution Control Regulation No. 45.

The purpose of this program is to test heavy-duty trucks and buses with GVWR over 14,000 pounds for excessive smoke and tampering. Any heavy-duty vehicle operating in Rhode Island, including vehicles registered in other states and foreign countries may be tested.

  • The purpose of the program is to identify diesel vehicles with excessive smoke emissions, as these emissions are an indicator of poor vehicle maintenance and contribute to air pollution.
  • State and local police conduct roadside checks throughout the state, to enforce motorist compliance with the HD emissions standards.
  • DMV and DEM have plans to institute a periodic HD I/M program to require compliance with emission standards.
  • The I/M program will ensure that all vehicles operating in Rhode Island meet reasonable standards of maintenance and help protect the air we all breathe.

ARRA dedicated funds to the DERA Program. These funds were allocated to states for clean diesel projects that maximized job creation and preservation through the installation of verified retrofit technologies, engine and vehicle replacements and upgrades, and idle reduction technologies. Learn more about the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Program

Additional Resources

Rhode Island Clean Diesel Fund

In 2017, the Department accepted applications for truck replacements under the Clean Diesel Fund. The purpose of the fund was to provide reimbursement grants to companies for the purpose of reducing emissions from heavy duty diesel vehicles operating on Rhode Island roads. Roughly $252,000 was used to replace four trucks. The Department is currently within the five year data collecting part of the fund. No applications are being accepted at this time. Please see see the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) Program for information on other heavy duty diesel opportunities.

Clean Construction Requirements

Requires the use of cleaner equipment at construction sites of state or federal funded projects over $5,000,000. Construction equipment owners can replace engines and/or exhaust controls on older construction equipment.

  • The purpose of this program is to limit particulate matter (PM) pollution from diesel powered construction equipment.
  • The program ensures that all heavy-duty vehicles and generators to be powered by well-maintained engines bearing Level 3 controls. If the DEM determines these Level 3 emission-control devices are inappropriate for a certain job, the requirement can go down to Level 2 (and then Level 1) as necessary.
  • Consult the Rhode Island General Laws 31-47.3-5 for complete details.

Clean Diesel School Bus Retrofit Program

Requires that all full-size school buses older than Model Year (MY) 1994 be removed from service; and buses older than MY 2007 be retrofitted with emissions control devices.

  • The purpose of the program is to reduce toxic exposures by removing older buses from fleets, and retrofitting school buses with proven emissions reduction technologies (including diesel oxidation catalysts and closed crankcase filtration systems)