The deadline for meeting California's Truck and Bus regulation diesel particulate filter retrofit requirement is January 1, 2012, but fleets can still apply for staggered implementation schedule or flexible phase-in option.

The Air Resources Board is reminding owners of heavier diesel trucks that they need to act now in order to comply with California's Truck and Bus regulation, which has its first diesel filter deadlines in January 2012.

"Fleet owners need to plan now to equip their trucks with diesel particulate matter filters in order to be ready in January," said Assistant Chief of Mobile Sources Erik White, noting that the process of ordering and installing equipment can take a few months. "We continue to make tools available to help truckers better understand the regulation, as well as figure out which options make the most sense for their businesses, or which funding options might be available."

The regulation provides owners of heavier trucks and buses (GWV rating of 26,000 or more) with two options to reduce diesel emissions. They can:

~ Follow a staggered implementation schedule that requires 1996-1999 model engines be retrofit with a diesel particulate matter filter by Jan. 1, 2012, or,

~ Use a flexible phase-in option that requires any 30 percent of vehicles in the fleet to have a PM filter. (Note: this option requires fleet owners to report information about all their heavier vehicles to ARB by January 31, 2012. Fleets that report can also take advantage of credits and special provisions.)

Owners of small fleets (defined as one to three trucks with a GVWR greater than 14,000 lbs.) can postpone the January 2012 compliance requirement for their heavier trucks until 2014, but must report their fleet information to ARB by January 31, 2012 in order to receive the extension.

Lighter diesel trucks with a GVWR of 14,001 to 26,000 pounds have no compliance requirements until 2015.

Are Larger Fleets Eligible?

The deadline for "large" motor carriers and other trailer fleet owners (those with 21 or more trailers) to seek delayed compliance with CARB's Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulation passed on Aug.1, 2011. But according to the law firm, Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, a significant number of motor carriers may not have received notice of the passing of the delayed compliance deadline, or even been aware that filing such a plan was an option.

"The effect of filing a delayed compliance plan was to allow carriers to stagger compliance (e.g., bring 20% of the California fleet into compliance per year until 100% compliance is reached on January 1, 2016), thereby avoiding a 100% compliance obligation on January 1, 2013," the firm said in a release circulated late last week. "For any large motor carrier that did not seek to file a delayed compliance plan, the GHG Regulation requires, with very few exceptions, that each 2010 model year or older 53 feet or longer trailer operating in California must either be SmartWay Certified or must be retrofitted with fuel saving technologies by January 1, 2013."

The firm is investigating the potential for late-submittal of plans that would provide carriers that did not file with a staggered compliance option so as to avoid a 100% compliance requirement by January 1, 2013.

"If your company maintains a trailer fleet of 20 or fewer trailers, the deadline for filing a delayed compliance plan is July 1, 2012. We have conferred with the American Trucking Associations, Inc. and it has advised the firm it is sending out alerts and working through this issue with its experts to possibly obtain relief on the deadline problem," the release stated. "It concurs with the firm that preparing and submitting a proper filing immediately is a prudent step despite the passage of the deadline."

Truck owners seeking more information on compliance assistance and funding opportunities can visit ARB's Truck Stop, call the Diesel Hotline at 866 6 DIESEL (866- 634-3735), or review the Truck and Bus Regulation Fact Sheets.

Ant carrier interested in investigating whether such relief is available should contact ATA, or Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary.