The California Air Resources Board announced that it will give a break to some truckers who are working to meet a January deadline for upgrades to their aging diesel fleets.
As we reported last week, potential changes include increasing the low-use vehicle thresholds. It's also looking at adjustments to the "NOx-exempt" vehicle provisions and granting fleets in certain areas more time to meet the filter requirements.
The move comes as larger fleets are required under the Statewide Truck and Bus Regulation to complete the upgrade for most of their trucks with diesel particulate filters by Jan. 1, 2014, and as smaller fleets are just beginning to undertake similar actions.
“The Air Resources Board is implementing new, flexible compliance options for truck owners who show they have made good faith efforts to comply with the regulation before Jan. 1, 2014, and is providing additional time for many fleets to complete their clean-up efforts,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey.
CARB will recognize "good faith" efforts of vehicle owners to comply with the Jan. 1 deadline. Fleets of any size that demonstrate they took one of the following actions before Jan. 1, 2014, and report into TRUCRS will not be subject to enforcement action until July on any truck for which they:
- Entered into an agreement with an authorized retrofit installer for a DPF retrofit
- Signed a purchase contract and ordered a replacement truck equipped with a DPF (2007 model year engine or newer)
- Were approved or denied a loan of other financing for a retrofit DPF or replacement truck
Funds for fleet upgrades are available, including $30 million in Prop 1B grants targeted for use by small fleet owners with three or fewer trucks. In addition, state-sponsored loans through the Truck Loan Assistance Program, which recently received $20 million to help small businesses comply with the regulation, are also available. Owners of logging trucks may also be eligible for $3 million in grant monies. (For more on funding opportunities, visit www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/truckstop/azregs/fa_resources.htm.)
Next month, CARB staff will conduct workshops throughout the state to hear comments on planned regulatory changes. For a list of locations, go to www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/documents/2013-12%20Workshops.pdf.
Proposed amendments to the regulation, which are still under development, are expected to provide additional time for owners in specified regions to complete their clean-up efforts. Also, owners of lower-use vehicles throughout the state are expected to gain flexibility options as well.
For more information on the specified regions, what constitutes a “good faith effort” to comply with the Truck and Bus Regulation, or which fleets are being afforded with additional time to comply, truck owners are urged to view today’s advisory here: www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/mailouts/msc1328/msc1328.pdf.
Anyone with questions on regulatory requirements can visit CARB’s Truck Stop Website, call 1-866-6DIESEL, or email 8666Diesel@arb.ca.gov.
The Truck and Bus Regulation was adopted in 2008 to clean up harmful emissions from nearly all heavy-duty diesel trucks operating in California. The regulation was amended in 2010 to provide economic relief to truckers affected by the recession, particularly small fleets, by delaying the first compliance requirements by one year and extending the time the truck could be operated before needing to be replaced.
The regulation requires most heavy trucks in California to install soot (diesel particulate) filters or upgrade to newer models with filters by Jan. 1, 2014, and that nearly all trucks have them installed by Jan. 1, 2016.
Out of the 260,000 trucks registered in California that need a soot filter, about 140,000 are already compliant, with another approximately 100,000 using regulatory flexibility to delay their compliance date. About 20,000 still need filters by the end of 2013, with 5,000 of these being in large fleets.
For small fleets (three or fewer vehicles), Jan. 1, 2014, is a critical compliance milestone because for the first time at least one vehicle in each fleet will need to comply. CARB estimates that about 15,000 vehicles in small fleets still need to retrofit or upgrade to meet this compliance deadline.