California reviews emissions rules for trucks

The California Air Resources Board is mulling changes to its regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from certain heavy-duty vehicles.

Changes include additional phase-in for large fleets, more flexibility for fleets to report, a storage trailer exemption, clarification of the drayage exemption and clarification of whether modifications to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay-verified equipment will comply.

CARB in April began a formal process to revise its strategy for the cleanup of on- and off-road diesel engines by directing staff to return in September with specific proposals to provide additional flexibility. CARB had asked staff to draft changes to the regulations that would mitigate the potential effects of an unfavorable economy on affected businesses, while keeping in mind the need to protect public health, meet federal clean air deadlines and continue moving forward even through uncertain times. CARB also directed staff to consider approaches to give credit to firms that already had complied with the regulations, and to examine the possibility of additional loans and incentive funding for the program.

CARB staff has updated its diesel emissions estimates and the approach for incorporating new information on diesel fuel use, emissions factors and equipment use; a new emissions estimate is being evaluated in the rule revision process. CARB staff conducted workshops in May and June in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Fresno with stakeholders and the public to solicit information about proposed revisions to the regulations that will be presented to CARB in September.

CARB already has extended deadlines for off-road equipment owners through AB8 2X, including delayed compliance and credits for those who have reduced their fleet size or operating hours in response to the recession. In addition, CARB is continuing its program of financial support to help owners and operators of these trucks and equipment.

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