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California May Ease Upfit Rules

December 28, 2012 in CNG, Conference/Meeting, LNG, Propane by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Meeting on January 22 on Streamlining Alt Fuels Certifications

The California Air Resources Board will hold a workshop in El Monte on January 22 to begin the process of streamlining the state’s stringent requirements for alternative fuel and other vehicle conversions.

Vehicles like this dedicated-CNG, BAF-converted Ford Transit Connect operated by AT&F in San Francisco may become easier to certify.

Regulators will be challenged to justify, in terms of public health gains, the cost and time required to secure CARB as well as U.S. EPA certification of aftermarket upfits.

CARB notes that the federal government has streamlined its rules for alternative fuel converters. The EPA has since April 2011 taken a three-tier approach based on vehicle age and useful life, CARB notes. “This has prompted numerous inquiries regarding their applicability in California,” the agency says.

The workshop, accordingly, will cover preliminary concepts of how to simplify the application process while preserving emissions benefits, including how to better align California’s alternative fuel certification procedures with the new federal policies.

On the table, says CARB, are “applicability, demonstrating emission compliance, demonstrating on-board diagnostic compliance, and carry-over for new vehicle/engine alternative fuel certifications to subsequent model years.”

Propane upfitters would like to have an easier time of it in California too.

The primary fuels of interest are liquefied natural gas, compressed natural gas, and propane.

‘A More Proactive Approach’

The January 22 workshop “is a signal that the ARB is beginning to take a more proactive approach in balancing the demands of a rapidly growing low carbon alternative fuels industry with the need for California to remain vigilant as to mobile source emission reduction goals,” says a memo from Alternative Fuels Advocates, a consultancy headed by Peter Ward (formerly of the California Energy Commission.

AFA has been urging reform at CARB since mid-2012.

“The industry is prepared to provide data and additional laboratory validation if required to support the improvement and streamlining of processes and removal of undue validation burdens,” AFA says, noting that some states, even those requiring California levels of emission control for new vehicle sales, are going with the federal EPA rules for aftermarket.

“California public and private fleets, who desire to reduce petroleum use in favor of using non-petroleum, low carbon natural gas and propane fuels , have been continually frustrated with the lack of ARB-certified vehicle and engine choices,” the memo states. Easing the CARB rules, says AFA, “can lead to a more robust alternative fuel vehicle production and sales environment for California.”


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Source: CARB notice with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

 

 

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