Acting soon to use some flexibility options to comply with the California Air Resources Board Statewide (CARB) Truck and Bus regulation could make a big difference for truck owners in 2014. Of course you can choose to quit offering trucking service into California, but there are options available to buy some time. Using one of these options can allow you to serve customers there until some of the dust settles on legal challenges. While we are hitting the end-game for most truck owners, there are still three distinct legal challenges to the rule. However, the likelihood of the courts tossing a lifeline to truckers facing a compliance deadline on January 1st is zero at this point.
Road rumors and misinformation have always gone hand-in-hand when talking CARB regulations. Unfortunately, listening to bad information right now could end up costing you by needlessly losing contracting opportunities or getting a steep fine if busted operating a non-compliant truck in California. There are alternative compliance options available and now is the time to figure out if one will work for you. Available exemptions/exceptions won’t work for everyone – some are going to get a “lump of coal” as their gift from CARB this year.
The Base Rule
You are in compliance for now if:
- You already have a truck equipped with a 2007 EPA-compliant or newer engine - it already has a factory installed diesel particulate (DPF) filter, or
- You have retrofitted by installing a DPF (which very few have done nationally)
The next phase of the rule ultimately requires all trucks be equipped with a 2010 EPA-compliant engine or newer.
For many other non-compliant truck owners still wishing to conduct business into California, there are some flex options that can ease the compliance burden. Depending on which one you choose, you need to register with CARB either by December 31, 2013 or January 31, 2014. Registration can be accomplished online through CARB’s TRUCRS portal or via snail mail using paper forms (see: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/documents/reportonpaper.pdf).
- Good Faith Effort. The most usable option for most truckers is a new and temporary compliance pathway now available. Taking advantage of CARB’s Good Faith Effort can get you an additional six months compliance time to either replace your truck or retrofit. There are some specific requirements you must meet to use this option and most importantly to take advantage of this option you MUST register with CARB by December 31, 2013.
All other exemptions or extensions require registration with CARB by January 31, 2014.
- Low-Use extension: If you only infrequently come to California during the year, registering your truck by January 31, 2014 under this option can give you 1,000 California-only miles annually.
- NOx Extension: If you operate only in designated NOx-exempt zones in California, registering with CARB will put off compliance till at least until January 1, 2015 for all truck owners.
- Small-Fleet option: This little-known option allows small fleet owners to delay replacement or retrofitting requirements for one or two trucks by registering with CARB no later than January 31, 2014 and following the following compliance schedule:
- One vehicle must have a PM filter by January 1, 2014
- Two vehicles must have PM filters by January 1, 2015
- Three vehicles must have PM filters by January 1, 2016
If you own two trucks and one is already compliant, using this option allows the second truck an additional year of unlimited use into the state.
The following compliance option does not require registration with CARB and ALL fleet owners, regardless of size, can use it to avoid truck replacement till the date shown if they are operating trucks with engines of the following model years:
There are still attempts being made to soften the rule from a regulatory standpoint. CARB staff just held five workshops around the state on amendments to the rule. Staff will issue their final recommendation sometime in late February for public comment.
The full CARB board is scheduled to vote on possible amendments at their April meeting so as the old saying goes “it ain’t over till its over.”