CARB proposes retrofit emissions reduction regulations

SACRAMENTO — The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has tabled two separate draft regulation proposals that could hit truckers deep in the pocketbook. The first would require an EPA’07-equivalent retrofit for trucks built prior to 1998. The second proposal would require all 2011-model-year and later equipment be EPA SmartWay certified in order to operate 53-ft trailers on California highways.

The regulations would demand emissions cuts in two phases. First, 1998 and older trucks would need to be retrofitted by 2010 to match emissions standards in 2007-model trucks. The second phase would require that by 2021, all trucks and buses meet EPA 2010 emission standards. Owners of older trucks would have three choices: retrofit their fleets twice, install up-to-date engines, or buy new trucks.

CARB estimates the compliance with the retro-fit plan would cost the California trucking industry between $3.6 billion and $5.5 billion. That estimate doesn’t include the cost of out-of-state compliance efforts.

A 1994 model diesel truck, worth about $11,000, would require up to a $20,000 retrofit, the regulations suggest.

CARB says emissions from diesel particulate matter are associated with a variety of health effects including premature death and a number of heart and lung diseases.

"If passed by the Board later this year, this regulation will save thousands of lives and help the hundreds of thousands more who suffer from asthma and other respiratory ailments," said CARB Chair, Mary Nichols. "While we are sensitive to the economic impacts this measure poses to truckers, the public health benefits are far too great not to move forward."

The second CARB draft regulation proposal, which would take effect in 2010, would require that a 2011 or subsequent model year sleeper-cab tractor to be EPA SmartWay certified in order to pull a 53-ft box-type trailer on any highway within California. The trailers must also meet the SmartWay certification spec, which includes the use of low-rolling resistance tires and various approved drag-reducing aerodynamic fittings.


Beginning in 2010, the draft regulations demand that all 2011 or subsequent model-year 53-ft box-type trailers be SmartWay certified. Larger fleets (20 or more trailers) would have to retrofit their older trailers on a phased-in schedule, and all 53-ft trailers operating in the state — under this draft regulation — would have to be retrofitted to the EPA SmartWay requirements.

According to the proposed rule, California-based shippers and receivers would be required to use only carriers with compliant equipment. Penalties would apply to shippers who use carriers whose equipment is not in compliance.

There would be some exemptions for short-haul tractors, including intermodal drayage tractors operating within 100 miles of a port or rail yard.

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