CARB hoping ‘train is on time’ for EPA reefer rule waiver

| 8/28/2008

Drivers who haul refrigerated loads in and out of California have until at least December to comply with the state’s new rule requiring reefer exhaust retrofits.

CARB’s reefer rule – dubbed the TRU rule short for transportation refrigeration unit rule – is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 30, although agency officials have said it won’t be enforced until 30 days after the EPA grants the state’s waiver request to enforce the new regulation.

The California agency “anticipates U.S. EPA will approve the waiver and strongly recommends that (transportation refrigeration unit) owners take steps to ensure they are in compliance by the applicable deadlines to avoid the rush,” CARB officials said in a statement.

To comply with what CARB has dubbed the TRU rule, truckers running reefers in California must meet CARB’s “in-use performance standards,” which phase in requirements every year for reefers seven years and older.

For instance, beginning on Dec. 30, 2008, refrigeration units and reefer gensets built in 2001 and earlier must meet the new standards. In 2009, models from 2002 will become subject to the new standards.

Also, California-based truckers running reefer operations must register for CARB identification numbers by Jan. 31, 2009.

California is the only state that is allowed to create emissions standards stricter than federal ones, although it must obtain a waiver from the EPA for each reg. After such a waiver is granted, other states can adopt California’s regulations.

Lead times for ordering and installing engine exhaust retrofit devices for reefers can be three to four months long, CARB estimates.

“Therefore, now is a good time to research compliance options, make compliance decisions and place orders,” CARB staffers said. “ARB will take good-faith, timely efforts to comply in mind if there are bottlenecks, but if (transportation refrigeration unit) owners wait until the last minute, ARB will aggressively enforce the regulation in the absence of evidence of timely compliance efforts.”

More information about the reefer rule is available by clicking here.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer