For a few years now, the California Environmental Protection Agency has been working on initiatives to reduce climate changing emissions from tractor-trailers and refrigerated trailer units. UWC has been closely monitoring all initiatives in order to provide information and updates to our followers, which can be found published in various posts on this blog, and in various editions of our monthly newsletter The Road Ahead.

Today, we are focusing on facts related to Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Regulations and the US Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Transport Partnership Program.

What is the purpose of the regulation?

The CA Air Resources Board has developed this specific regulation in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by heavy-duty tractors by making them more fuel efficient. Fuel efficiency will be improved by requiring the use of aerodynamic tractors & trailers. These tractors & trailers will also be required to be equipped with low rolling resistance tires.

Tractors & trailers that are subject to this regulation must either use the US EPA SmartWay certified tractors & trailers, or retrofit their existing fleet with SmartWay verified technologies.

Who is affected by the regulation?

The regulation applies primarily to owners of 53’ or longer box-type trailers, including both dry van and refrigerated units, and owners of heavy-duty tractors that operate on CA highways, regardless of what state the vehicle is registered in. Owners are responsible for replacing or retrofitting their affected vehicles with compliant aerodynamic technologies and low rolling resistance tires. Drivers, motor carriers, California-based brokers, and California-based shippers that operate or use these types of vehicle also share the duty for compliance with the regulation. One or all of these parties may be held accountable for operating or using non-compliant vehicles on CA highways.

What are the requirements of the regulation? Compliance dates

For tractors subject to the regulation:

  • 2011 and newer model year (MY) sleeper-cab tractors that pull affected trailers must be SmartWay certified, beginning January 1, 2010.
  • 2011 and newer MY day-cab tractors that pull affected trailers must use SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires, beginning January 1, 2010.
  • All 2010 and older MY tractors that pull affected trailers must use SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires beginning January 1, 2013.

For trailers subject to the regulation:

  • 2011 and newer MY 53-foot or longer box-type trailers must, beginning January 1, 2010, be either
    • SmartWay certified or
    • Retrofitted with SmartWay verified technologies
  • 2010 and older MY 53-foot or longer box-type trailers (with the exception of certain 2003 to 2009 MY refrigerated-van trailers) must meet the same aerodynamic device requirements as 2011 and newer MY trailers either:
    • By January 1, 2013, or
    • According to a compliance schedule based on fleet size which allows them to phase-in their compliance over time.
  • 2010 and older MY trailers must use SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires by January 1, 2017.
  • 2003 to 2009 MY refrigerated-van trailers equipped with 2003 or newer MY transport refrigeration units have a compliance phase-in between 2017 and 2019.

So, most operators and other interested parties using equipment that is 2010 or older have a least 1 year to start complying with some of the regulations. To comply, operators may purchase a SmartWay certified tractor and/or trailer, which will come already equipped with the approved technologies. Older units can become compliant by the following retrofits: low rolling resistance tires, trailer rear fairings, trailer side skirts, trailer front gaps, and other SmartWay approved technologies.

Checking In

For more general information, and specific information on the type and number of technologies required, visit the CARB website and the SmartWay website. Have any opinions about the CA Air Resources Board’s multiple regulations, or experiences in retrofit options? Please share!

California Environmental Protection Agency
Air Resources Board. Facts about Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Regulation. Accessed on 12/01/2011.

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