CARB wants better aerodynamics, tire inflation systems by 2010

| 9/10/2007

The most active environmental organization in the world has decided to triple its early action measures aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions –planning to add several trucking restrictions by 2010 and ratchet up fines and enforcement for an idling restriction set to take effect next year.

Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board approved three early action measures to help the state meet California Assembly Bill 32’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

On Friday, Sept. 7, CARB announced that it expects to have 11 early action measures in effect by 2008, an increase sought by new CARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols.

CARB now proposes to speed up the “Smartway Truck Efficiency” program, including requiring in-use trucks and trailers to be retrofitted with aerodynamic devices including cab roof fairings, cab side gap fairings, cab side skirts, trailer side skirts, gap fairings and trailer tail. Additionally, CARB wants to reduce rolling resistance by use of wide-base tires, low-rolling-resistance tires and automatic tire inflation systems for both tractors and trailers.

The new measures will be formally considered for approval at CARB’s October board meeting.

The added early action measures will be presented at length during a workshop in Sacramento, CA, on Sept. 17. The workshop will be Web cast at CARB’s Web site. To read the agency’s 189-page report, click here.

Additionally, CARB aims to beef up enforcement of anti-idling measures and ratchet up fines for laws that haven’t yet gone into effect. The state’s toughest idling restriction yet – a limit of five minutes for trucks or busses with exclusions for health emergencies, temperature-dependent or hazmat loads, and windshield defrost – goes in effect on Jan. 1, 2008.

CARB expects to issue new regulations to:

  • Reduce aerosol for canned tire inflators, electronics cleaning, hand-held sirens, hobby guns and foam string party products.
  • Cut CO2 emissions by blending limestone, fly ash and other materials in the production of cement.
  • Require signage at fueling stations to indicate “the availability of compressed air at no charge.”
  • Mandate that maintenance shops and car and truck dealers check and inflate under-inflated tires.
  • Emphasize truck stop electrification and offer incentives for truckers.
  • Accelerate the rate of cargo handling equipment replacement.
  • Require electrification of off-road construction equipment.

AB32 was approved and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year. The law gives CARB the authority to research, write and enforce regulations related to greenhouse gas emissions and links such emissions with global warming.

CARB acknowledged the aggressiveness of the plan.

“The revised list of early actions as recommended by ARB staff is amore ambitious plan than originally proposed and is a compliment to the actions of the Climate Action Team members and many other entities in California, the U.S. and the world who are acting now for climate protection,” the document’s conclusion reads.

Next week’s workshop should reveal more details of the proposal and will likely include questions from industry stakeholders.

In the March/April 2007 edition of Land Line Magazine, Paul Abelson, the magazine’s senior technical editor, wrote that air deflectors or high-roof sleeper cabs coupled with flatbeds or other low trailers can cause fuel waste of 5 percent or more.

Nichols admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle that “few discussions have been held with the industries affected by the proposed rules.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer