Trucking group asks CARB to delay on-road rule

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 12/5/2008

A coalition of nearly 100 California companies is asking the state’s Air Resources Board to delay approval of its proposed diesel truck retrofit rule.

Members of Driving Toward a Cleaner California say that delaying the rule will protect truck owners, grocers, contractors and other businesses, which already are fighting a recessed economy.

Commonly referred to as the retrofit rule, CARB’s “in-use on-road diesel truck rule” phases in model-year engine emission requirements continually for any trucks traveling on state highways. CARB officials are scheduled to adopt the regulation at their board meeting Dec. 11-12.

The in-use diesel rule has drawn attention, particularly after transportation companies disputed CARB’s estimate that it would mandate between $4.4 billion and $5.4 billion in diesel engine replacement costs.

The proposed rule would require older trucks to meet 2007 and 2010 emissions standards between 2012 and 2022, though it allows for a series of compliance options. The regulation addresses both diesel particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen.

The group Driving Toward a Cleaner California announced in a press release Tuesday that it will ask CARB “to consider the current economic climate and adopt a rule that cleans the air without seriously harming the goods movement sector of the economy.”

On Wednesday, the coalition publicly asked CARB to adopt a different retrofit rule that would allow more flexibility, including:

  • Exempting older model trucks and buses that don’t go above certain mileage thresholds;
  • Require CARB to “develop a personalized compliance schedule for businesses subject to two or more CARB rules” based on financial impacts of all applicable environmental rules; and
  • Require CARB to investigate and address all operational and other safety considerations of retrofit technology, and to require CARB to exempt equipment that may be unsafe.

For more information about the coalition’s proposed retrofit rule, visit

CARB’s proposed rule exempts fleets of up to three vehicles from the rule’s engine performance requirements in 2010 and 2011, meaning one truck from those small companies must meet 2004 emissions standards by Dec. 31, 2012, and would be exempt from additional particulate matter changes until 2017. By Dec. 31, 2017, the truck must be replaced by one meeting 2010 engine emissions requirements. A company with three or less trucks would then upgrade engines for the rest of its trucks between 2013 and 2022.

School buses would be exempt from NOx regulations, as would any 14,000-pound diesel-powered vehicle that is used less than 1,000 miles or 100 hours annually. Vehicles driven “exclusively” in counties that meet federal air quality attainment standards are exempt until 2020. Attainment area counties include Alpine, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Trinity, Tehama and Yuba.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

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