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CARB Watch: Truck and Bus Regulation

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Predicted to cost the industry more than $1 billion, the Truck and Bus Rule has been publicized by many as the CARB’s most expensive rule. At their meeting back in April 2014, the CARB approved several amendments to the Truck and Bus Regulation. The revisions to the Rule are geared towards ensuring the air quality benefits that were originally planned can be achieved by providing vehicle owners with more flexibility.

At this meeting, the air quality agency formally approved multiple exemptions from the Truck and Bus Rule that will last until the year 2020. More than 100 stakeholders commented on the Rule, with most sharing their approval or disagreement over CARB’s concluding decision to allow fleets of three trucks or smaller to delay emissions upgrades until the end of 2016.

The amendments that were approved by the Board in April will take effect when the Rule is finalized later this year. Below, a list of how fleet owners can take advantage of these amendments now and until the Rule in finalized, which means that they are submitted and finally approved by the California Office of Administrative Law.

  • Small Fleet Option: Allows fleets of three or fewer to defer compliance dates of second trucks to January 2017, and for a third truck to January 2018.
  • Economic Hardship Extension: Allows truck owners to defer compliance for the particulate matter filter requirement until Jan. 1, 2017, if they’re unable to afford to comply and cannot get financing.
  • Low-Mileage Work Truck Phase-In: Allows exemption for construction trucks and other work trucks that travel less than 20,000 miles per year as long as the fleet has a specified number of particulate matter filters.
  • Low-use Exemption: Allows exemption for trucks that operate 5,000 miles or less annually.
  • Cattle Livestock Trucks: which allows a specialty agricultural truck extension that is still being crafted by CARB staff.
  • Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) Exempt Area Extension: Allows exemption for trucks that operate exclusively in specified regions with low levels of NOx.
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CARB has notified that fleet owners who reported to use existing compliance options by Jan. 31, 2014  may continue to use them without taking any additional action this year. Carriers who reported “good faith efforts” to meet the rule’s Jan. 1, 2014 compliance date must have completed those upgrade actions by July 1, 2014, unless they are able to use newly approved options listed above.

Note – truck owners who remain noncompliant after July 1, 2014, may be subject to penalties and California Department of Motor Vehicle registration holds, CARB said. Vehicles that operate without current DMV registration may have their vehicles impounded.


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