Will Sept. 1 SmartWay deadline be enforced? Depends on CARB

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 9/13/2012

With two weeks remaining before a Sept. 1 deadline, only “200 to 300” small trucking businesses had signed up to take advantage of the California Air Resources Board’s extended compliance time, sparking worry that few companies were aware of the rule and its timetable.
The deadline has passed, and CARB didn’t extend the compliance deadline – meaning all trucks that enter California beginning in January must have low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic equipment installed.
Those facts change, however, if CARB chooses to be lenient with its enforcement.
CARB’s SmartWay rule page has a disclaimer hinting that the Sept. 1 deadline may not be a hard-and-fast rule.
The disclaimer reads: “If you have a fleet of 20 or fewer 53-foot or longer box trailers and you missed the September 1, 2012 deadline to register for the small fleet compliance phase-in, you should still register per the regulatory requirements as soon as possible. ARB can exercise discretion in how we implement the regulation, and may take into consideration a good faith effort in determining compliance.”
Designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions, CARB’s SmartWay Rule requires a specific combination of aerodynamic additions to 53-foot trailers and reefers, and by 2017 requires all trucking companies to have installed low-rolling-resistance tires on trailers and reefers with 2010 and older model years. 2011 and newer model year trailers are already required to have aerodynamic equipment installed.
Newer trucks and trailers have had to comply with the rule’s tire component as of 2010.
In August, Stephen Lemieux, manager of CARB’s on-road heavy-duty diesel section, encouraged truck and trailer owners to learn more about the rule, including several additional CARB SmartWay Rule requirements that aren’t well known. Lemieux pointed out that 2011 and newer tractors with sleepers must be EPA SmartWay approved, while day cabs with the same model years aren’t required to be SmartWay-approved models.
CARB was worried, Lemieux said, that many small trucking fleets weren’t aware of the regulation and would miss out on additional time to comply with the regulation. Many larger fleets, which faced earlier reporting deadlines, appear to be more aware of the regulation and often have an ability to obtain discounts through bulk purchases, CARB said in August.
“These smaller fleets are having a harder time with financing,” Lemieux said then. “We really are concerned with this group. The big guys we aren’t so concerned with. These guys we are.”
Companies that own a single trailer could have delayed their compliance time until January 2015 by reporting before the Sept. 1 deadline. Companies with multiple trailers can use a fleet phase-in system that requires a certain percentage of trailers to have aerodynamic equipment installed each year during the next four years.
Lemieux said CARB estimates the average aerodynamic package of side skirts and trailer tails costs about $1,200.
Also, beginning next year, retreaded tires will face requirements that they must be SmartWay verified and approved by the EPA. Tires retreaded in 2012 will be grandfathered in and will still be OK until 2015.
“After that, they’re going to go buy either a SmartWay-approved retread or a SmartWay-approved tire,” Lemieux said.
For more information, visit CARB’s TruckStop or call the Diesel Hotline at 1-866-6-DIESEL (1-866-634-3735. The regulation is described in full here.
All U.S. EPA-approved SmartWay equipment is listed here.

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