CARB To Change Truck And Bus Rules
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced that it will provide relief to truckers working to meet state deadlines for upgrades to their aging diesel fleets. The relief is detailed in a regulatory advisory which recognizes ‘good faith’ efforts of fleets to meet upcoming compliance deadlines. The advisory also provides early access to planned regulatory changes to be considered by the Board in April 2014.
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 Truck and Bus Regulation (Regulation) was adopted in 2008 to clean up 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 filters or upgrade to newer models with filters by Jan. 1, 2014, and that nearly all trucks have them installed by Jan. 1, 2016.
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.
“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. “These changes will help businesses meet the clean-up requirements in a way that will not compromise the health benefits or emissions reductions that this vitally important regulation will achieve over its lifetime.”
Funds for fleet upgrades are available to qualified applicants, 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.
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 can view the advisory at Truck and Bus Regulation Advisory.