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CARB delays reporting requirement for most off-road vehicles

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Changes to statewide emissions regulations for off-road diesel vehicles will not be made before August, California Air Resources Board staff said Tuesday during a workshop at the offices of Hawthorne CAT.

The agency has also pushed back reporting deadlines for all vehicles, except two-engine street sweepers with older engines and agricultural vehicles -- which must provide vehicle and mileage information by March 31.

All other vehicles must report by Jan. 31, however at that time they must include 2010 information as well, CARB Air Pollution Specialist Brandon Rose told approximately 100 members of the trucking industry.

Enacted in December 2008, the diesel rule requires thousands of on-road and off-road vehicles be retrofitted or replaced.

The requirements will be implemented in phases, through 2023 -- when all vehicles must have 2010 equivalent engines.

In the meantime, owners can satisfy the regulations with retrofits and by earning credits for retiring older vehicles.

Staff will present the board with an “informational item” in April. However, an amendment will not be made until August or September, Rose said.

The delay creates uncertainty and harms businesses, said Dennis Andolsek, fleet account supervisor for truck dealer Dion International Trucks LLC.

“It’s ruined the used truck market,” Andolsek said.

The regulation has driven down the value of used equipment, Andolsek said.

If a customer were to purchase a 2004 model year truck for $20,000, they would be required to pay $10,000 to $25,000 for a retrofit, which will only make the truck compliant for four years, Andolsek said.

Such trucks will typically last another 10 years, Andolsek said.

Hawthorne Machinery Co. has had a similar experience with its customers.

The company maintains a rental fleet of newer vehicles and will not be required to make any retrofits until 2014, said Jeff Wood, an emissions technology specialist with Hawthorne Machinery.

While Hawthorne faces no immediate costs for retrofitting vehicles, it has gotten “killed” on the resale value of its older equipment, Wood said.

During the workshop, CARB officials presented an overview of the regulation and walked attendees through the reporting process on the agency’s Web site.

The reporting system is not yet online and companies subject to the March 31 deadline may need to e-mail their information to ensure it is received in time, Rose said.

Due to the reporting requirements, CARB will have access to detailed information about all vehicles operating in the state, including serial numbers of engines and retrofit parts.

The agency’s enforcement division will also police weigh stations and go out in the field to read odometers, Rose said.

Trucks entering California from other states and countries must also comply with the regulations, Rose said.

Companies must give CARB advance notice they plan to enter the state so the agency can put a note in the system.

However, out of state trucks are eligible for a three-day pass once per year.

Trucks found in violation will be subject to fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 per vehicle per day the equipment is out of compliance, Rose said.

Despite the agency’s rigorous enforcement, CARB usually finds out about violations when it is tipped off by competitors who spent millions on retrofits and want other companies to be required to do the same, Rose said.

The trucking industry remains concerned about the effect of the regulations on not only its businesses, but the price of all goods that must be shipped, Andolsek said.

“I think this is of high concern,” Andolsek said. “It’s going to drive up the cost of everything.”

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