CARB approves amendments to regulations

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved amendments to the In-Use On-Road Diesel Vehicle Regulation (Truck and Bus Rule) and the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Regulation (California SmartWay mandate). The amendments are designed to help fleet owners affected by the global recession, which has led to lower than expected emissions levels. The Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) is encouraged by an amendment to the California SmartWay mandate that addresses concerns previously raised by the group.

The California SmartWay Mandate requires that lessors insert specific language in lease agreements in order to avoid liability for possible non-compliance with the regulation by their customers. TRALA argued during the rulemaking process that it should be up to lessors and their customers as to who should be responsible for compliance based on the situation, and that they should agree to it in a contract accordingly. TRALA also said requiring an agreement on dictated language would lead to the need for existing long-term leases to be rewritten. CARB disagreed at the time, and the CARB-dictated language required in lease agreements ultimately became part of the rule. However, now CARB has amended the regulation so lessors and lessees can agree to the CARB-dictated language in a document separate from the lease agreement. This change will help to avoid the burden of rewriting existing long-term lease agreements.

Other amendments to the California SmartWay mandate include an additional phase-in option for large fleets, additional flexibility for fleets to report, recordkeeping requirements for dealers and lessors, and extended deadlines for required use of low rolling resistance tires.

CARB also approved major changes to the Truck and Bus Rule. Trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or less are not required to meet particulate matter filter requirements or replace old engines until 2015. No engine less than 20 years old would need to be replaced until January 1, 2020. Trucks heavier than 26,000 pounds must follow a phase-in compliance schedule that lists requirements by engine model year beginning in 2012.

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