Spoiler alert: CARB says it will fully enforce aerodynamic 'Smartway' Rule

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 10/23/2014

The California Air Resources Board will begin enforcing all of its Greenhouse Gas Regulation for late-model trucks and box trailers.

Despite a legal petition filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, CARB recently posted a Regulatory Advisory on its website indicating it plans to enforce all of the regulation. 

CARB’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation, also known as the Smartway Rule, requires specific combinations of aerodynamic technology for trucks and trailers designed to boost fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Companies can come into compliance by installing low-rolling-resistance tires, or retrofitted side skirts and fairings.

The rule first went into effect in January 2010. At that time, model year 2010 and older trucks and trailers were subject to the rule. CARB requested the Environmental Protection Agency to consider a waiver before California could enforce the rule for 2011 through 2013 model year trucks and 2011 and newer 53-foot box trucks.

On July 30 of this year EPA granted the waiver.

“With the issuance of the waiver from U.S. EPA, those provisions are now also enforceable,” CARB said in the message.

The rule may affect even truck drivers who never enter California’s borders.

Despite the rule’s direct implication for trucks operating in California, the EPA waiver may affect trucks and truck owners in many other states. The waiver ruling explicitly states other states may follow California’s lead and adopt the Greenhouse Gas Regulation.

In October, OOIDA filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., announcing its intention to challenge the EPA’s waiver.

A petition for review is a challenge of the legal process by which a body has reached a decision. Appellate courts review previously submitted evidence. The reviews rarely include a trial.

The court has ordered both OOIDA and EPA to submit multiple documents related to the case by Nov. 5.

In comments published in the Federal Register in October 2013, OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston said the Association believes the regulation imposes a significant financial burden on the large number of OOIDA members who are primarily engaged in interstate commerce and who only drive in California intermittently.

Johnston also pointed out that the power to regulate fuel mileage resides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information about the rule and the full text of the Greenhouse Gas Regulation, click here

For help identifying how to comply, call 866-6DIESEL (866-64-3735), or email 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov.

Copyright © OOIDA