CARB adopts new rules on forklift emissions

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently approved more stringent emission standards and test procedures for forklifts and similar industrial equipment. The regulations, announced May 25, cover both new forklifts sold in California and retrofit or replacement of engines on existing forklifts operated in the state, although a large number of small and agricultural operators are exempt from the retrofit-or-replace mandate.

Most forklift engines built since 1990 can be retrofit with a catalytic converter that reduces emissions by 75 percent, CARB said. Operators of forklifts will be required to retrofit existing forklifts, or replace them with newer, lower-emission models, by 2009. Some forklift operators may also be eligible for incentive funding if they act quickly to clean up their fleets.

Owners of three or fewer forklifts — approximately 70 percent of all forklift owners — are exempt from retrofit requirements. Another exemption allows operators of forklifts used for agricultural purposes to continue operating forklifts that cannot be retrofit.

Previous emission standards adopted by CARB in 1998 cut emissions by 75 percent, beginning with 2004 models. The new standards will require emission reductions of about 95 percent, and fuel evaporative emissions will be controlled for the first time, CARB said.

For more information on the new rules, visit CARB’s website.