CARB diet: Agency’s wave of restrictions tighten emissions

| 7/26/2007

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series about CARB and its growing importance nationally and in trucking. Click here to read the first part in the series, which takes a look at the 40-year-old agency’s past, present, and future. Click here for the third part of the series, for another overview of trucking-related regulations that will soon begin going into effect in the Golden State.

For more information on how California's new regs will affect APUs, click here.

Long before any truck drivers head to warehouses outside Long Beach or hit Silicon Valley this New Year’s Day, they’ll be entering a state unlike any other.

California’s vast expanse and diverse economy mean a variety of jobs for long haulers. The state’s long-term smog problems and attention to the environment, however, mean more hoops to jump through for small-business owners who aren’t even baseplated in California.

Drivers entering California on Jan. 1, 2008, will be dealing with the first in a surge of changes ushered in by the California Air Resources Board.

Beginning in January, truck drivers entering California will be subject to several new rules, including:

  • The prevention of use of diesel-powered APUs for 2007 model-year trucks and newer, unless used in conjunction with a CARB-approved filtration system;
  • A five-minute idling limit for all trucks, including ones with sleeper berths; and
  • The installation of an engine turnoff function for 2008 model-year and newer trucks.

  CARB is aggressively targeting commercial trucks as the $300 million-budgeted agency seeks to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and particulate matter.

CARB officials told Land Line Magazine in a recent interview that beginning in January 2008, any truck 2007 or newer can use a diesel-fired APU while traveling in California – provided the truck has an APU filter as blocking 85 percent of diesel particulate matter.

APUs also may be used on 2007 or newer trucks if the exhaust is routed through the truck engine’s diesel particulate filter, though to be certified, that will likely have to be done by either the truck or engine manufacturer.

The only problem is, CARB hasn’t approved a single diesel-powered APU that meets the new standard.

“At this time there is no product that is approved for use for these trucks with ’07 and newer engines,” CARB Engineer David Chen acknowledged to Land Line, though he said two companies have submitted filters that can be added to diesel-powered APUs for 2007 trucks and newer.

“From our point of view, we believe that a lot of these other technologies are sufficient … I’ve talked to individuals from the trucking industry that have told me that ‘although these devices may not be able to cool the entire cab on hot days, it is sufficient to cool the bed area where the driver needs to sleep.’ ”

California’s APU law has had the industry talking.

Rex Greer, president of Pony Pack Inc., said his company is waiting to find out what APUs will be allowed to run on ’07 trucks.

“This is a little bit hard to expect anyone to swallow,” Greer told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio. “We don’t know how it’s going to work, where it’s going to have to be located, how big it’s going to be.

“There’s nobody that has any proven, tested, certified technology… what do they do if they’re in the desert in California, they’re out of hours, or they’ve got to wait here to load or unload or whatever, and there is no plug-in electrical type system, they’re not allowed to idle their truck engine. What do we do with this driver?”

Truckers do have the option of using battery-powered or other alternative power systems with 2007 or newer trucks.

Kenworth’s Clean Power program, for example, allows new trucks to use key-off climate control and supports 120-volt sleeper loads.

Jeff Parietti, a Kenworth spokesman, said of CARB’s APU rule for 2008: “It’s going to be interesting.”

Parietti said the company has gained interest in its key-off power systems because of fuel cost savings and regulations.

The idling function requires 2008 and subsequent year models to have an anti-idling function on the electronic control modules to shut off an engine after five minutes while parked or 15 minutes of idling in traffic.

The anti-idling function gives a 30-second warning before shutting off, Chen said, during which time a driver can disengage the parking brake or change gears to prevent the engine from shutting down.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer