CARB outlines hardship exemption for Truck and Bus Rule

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 9/16/2014

The California Air Resources Board is tweaking some fine print that could affect many small-business trucking operations.

In early September, CARB released proposed changes to exemptions for its Truck and Bus Rule – which requires most trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 14,000 pounds to be upgraded either with diesel particulate filters or by upgrading to cleaner and newer engines between 2012 and 2023.

In April, CARB amended the Truck and Bus Rule in response to outcry that many trucking companies couldn’t afford to comply with the rule – billed as the state’s most expensive truck emissions regulation to date.

Citing economic factors, CARB proposed to allow small trucking companies more compliance time – including a new deadline of 2018 for small trucking companies that were rejected for loans for new truck purchases.

CARB had intended to allow trucking companies that were denied a loan to be exempt from the rule if they submitted proper documentation and affixed a label on all trucks in their fleet with 3-inch-by-5-inch letters “EH” on both truck doors. The letters stood for “economic hardship.” The requirement was criticized on social media for its potential to divide the trucking community.

In language released in early September, CARB struck the “EH” lettering requirement. The new language also requires that by January 2015 truck owners using the economic hardship exemption provide CARB lists of the owner, vehicle, engine and emissions information, annual financial data beginning in 2012 showing annual gross revenue, net income, debt, total net worth, number of years in business, and bankruptcy or existing tax liens.

Truck owners using the exemption also must provide a signed statement from a financial institution and the vehicle owner “under penalty of perjury” that identifies information about the quote for the vehicle lease, quote for installation of a particulate matter retrofit, and quote for the vehicle purchase that was considered for financing by the lender including information on record keeping; audit of records; record retention; right of entry; disclosure of regulation applicability; compliance requirement; ARB Certificate of Reported Compliance; noncompliance and severability.

CARB is requiring truck owners using the economic hardship exemption to obtain price quotes for the installation of an approved diesel particulate matter filter retrofit for their truck, a suitable cab and chassis or replacement vehicle of the same body type as the vehicle it would replace, and a quote from a leasing entity for a one- to three-year vehicle lease for a replacement vehicle of the same configuration and body type with a 1996 or newer engine with a diesel particulate matter filter.

“If the lender does not commonly provide loans for each of the three options, the owner must present the same information to another state or federally chartered financial institution to seek financing of each of the three options on a separate form,” CARB said in a regulatory advisory posted in early September. “If the owner is approved for financing for any one of the three quotes from any source, the owner must take the appropriate action to bring the vehicle into compliance and may not claim the economic hardship provision.”

California’s On-Road Truck and Bus Regulation was predicted to cost the trucking industry billions of dollars in truck replacement or retrofit work.

Trucking companies with one to three trucks protested last fall as an earlier deadline of December 2013 approached. CARB pushed the deadline out to mid-2014 as staff members worked on time extensions, beefed up grants for truck emissions projects and revamped the economic hardship proposal – all ways to help companies comply.

For more information on how to comply with CARB’s Truck and Bus Rule, call CARB’s Diesel Hotline at 1-866-6DIESEL or email The air quality agency’s Truckstop website is available here.

Copyright © OOIDA