California seeks truckers’ opinions

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California is seeking comments from truckers on a proposal to require retrofits of all older diesel engines to make them comply first to 2004 emissions standards and, later, to 2007 standards.

The California Air Resources Board held a series of workshops in late August on the plan, which exempts drayage trucks; the board is developing a separate regulation for them. In mid-2008, board members will consider requiring retrofits to make 1993 and older truck engines 2004-emissions compliant by Dec. 31, 2009.

Truck engines manufactured from 1994 through 1997 would be required to be 2004-compliant by 2010, then 1998-99 engines by 2011, 2000-02 truck engines by 2012 and 2003-06 truck engines by 2013. All deadlines are by Dec. 31 of each year. This excludes 2007 and newer engines, which must have a diesel particulate filter. One filter has been approved for California use, and others are being considered, says Erik White, who heads the board’s Heavy Duty Diesel In-Use Strategies Branch.

After Phase One has brought all California truck engines into 2004 compliance, Phase Two aims to do the same with 2007 emissions, by steps from 2017 through 2019. Fines could range from $500 to $10,000 per day per violation.

Earlier workshops were well-attended by the trucking community, and cost was their biggest concern, White says. “We’re trying to get information on what the economic impact is for this segment (truckers) of the market,” White says. “The proposal is likely to change after getting economic information.”

A second round of workshops is scheduled for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, San Diego and Redding, but dates have not been set. In the meantime, truckers can go to www.arb.ca.gov for more information and submit comments to Gloria Lindner via e-mail. There is no comparable U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard because federal standards affect only new trucks, not existing ones, White says.

The board also is considering ways to comply with the Global Warming Solutions Act that became state law in 2006; it requires existing trucks and trailers to be retrofitted with devices that reduce aerodynamic drag, such as low-resistance tires. The board is reviewing devices endorsed by the EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership.