CARB approves ‘SmartWay,’ diesel retrofit rules

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) on Friday, Dec. 12, unanimously adopted regulations that would require fleet owners operating in California to begin replacing older trucks or retrofitting them with diesel exhaust filters, beginning in 2011. Under the rules, almost all vehicles covered would be replaced or upgraded by 2014. Owners also must replace engines older than the 2010 model year according to an implementation schedule running from 2012 to 2022.

CARB also adopted a rule aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, by requiring long-haul operators of 53-foot box type — dry van and refrigerated — trailers to use fuel-efficient tires and aerodynamic devices as certified by the SmartWay Transport Partnership. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gases by improving fuel economy.

As for tractors, low rolling-resistance tires will be required for all new tractors – both day cabs and sleepers – pulling 53-foot box-type trailers effective with the 2011 model year. As of 2012, older tractors must use low rolling-resistance tires. In addition, CARB still plans to require that sleeper-equipped tractors pulling 53-foot box-type trailers be SmartWay certified models as of model year 2011. However, the board conditioned this requirement on the availability of a certification procedure that allows fuel-efficiency comparisons across all makes of tractors. The current SmartWay procedure allows only for comparison of models within one make.

In the final version of the so-called Statewide Truck and Bus Regulation — aimed at reducing particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen — CARB responded to pleas from business groups about costly regulations in the face of a poor economy by delaying implementation for a year; the original proposal would have required fleet owners to begin upgrading equipment in 2010. The board also allowed fleet owners to delay compliance for a year for every older-technology truck they retired.

For more information on the heavy-duty vehicle greenhouse gas reduction measure, click here. For more information on the statewide truck and bus measure, click here.