The California Air Resources Board announced that Ryder System paid $1 million for failure to conduct testing and maintain complete records of required annual opacity tests on heavy-duty vehicles in its California fleet in 2008 and 2009.

Annual opacity tests, performed to determine whether a truck produces visible smoke from its exhaust, and related record-keeping are required under California law. Records reviewed by CARB enforcement staff indicated that Ryder failed to conduct tests and maintain records of the tests on vehicles that were in service for four or more years.

This was Ryder's first CARB violation in its 53 years of operating in California, says the agency.

The settlement consists of a $773,000 payment to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, plus $258,000 to fund investments to upgrade a maintenance facility to service trucks that are powered by natural gas. The maintenance facility, located in West Sacramento, will be open to the public for use by commercial transportation fleets.

Ryder released a statement saying, "Although Ryder disputed the CARB calculation of the penalty, we have worked closely with CARB to settle the issue and move forward. The lack of documentation did not result in a negative impact to air quality. We have made substantial new investments to ensure that this administrative issue does not recur. We have also worked with CARB to further expand the use of alternative fuel trucks in California, allocating 25% of the settlement toward the region's natural gas vehicle infrastructure."

While noting that "strong processes and proper documentation demonstrating compliance with the State of California's regulations are essential to verifying that all businesses are complying with the law," CARB Enforcement Chief James Ryden also said that "Ryder has a long history of working collaboratively with our organization to ensure environmental compliance of its operations in California.

"We appreciate Ryder's efforts to resolve this issue. We also commend their continued leadership in expanding the use of clean technology vehicles, and, under this settlement, for supporting increased numbers of lower-emission alternative fuel trucks in California."