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ARB celebrates a successful start of air quality improvement projects.
Consumers take advantage of incentives, gear up for cleaner cars and other equipment

Dated: September 29, 2010

This year California consumers have taken advantage of state incentives that put clean vehicles on the road and save them money on fuel. New incentive programs totaling $40 million are cutting smog and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by funding advanced vehicle and equipment technologies.

Under Assembly Bill 118 (2007), ARB is authorized to design new programs that fund the purchase of new vehicles like the Nissan LEAF and hybrid trucks and get them on the road more quickly. These monies accelerate California’s clean air efforts and protect public health.

One of the incentive programs was so popular, it quickly used up all $19 million within the first six months and, it received national recognition by the American Council for Energy Efficient Economy as having one of the best programs for energy-efficiency.

These programs have the potential of producing green jobs because many of the vehicles and parts are manufactured in California.

The following describes the five incentive programs:

  • food bank truck Hybrid truck and bus program
    This $19 million program puts hybrid vehicles on the road with the help of a $10,000 to $35,000 voucher. Hybrid technology is well suited for vehicles that do a lot of stop and go driving or idling.


  • nissan leaf Clean car rebates
    This $9 million rebate program pays $1,500 to $5,000 for 100 percent electric and plug-in hybrid passenger cars, motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles. These rebates come in time for the product launch of new 2011 cars such as the Nissan LEAF.

  • mower Lawn equipment rebates
    This rebate program will pay an average of $200 to replace older, gas equipment with new, cordless equipment, such as lawn mowers and hedge trimmers. The goal of this program is to encourage consumer acceptance and accelerate development of commercial-grade equipment. By next summer, over 10,000 pieces of high polluting equipment will be replaced, helping make the air cleaner for communities already plagued by poor air quality.

  • ag motor Agricultural utility and all terrain vehicle rebates
    There are rebates for utility and all terrain vehicles that pay 25 percent of the purchase price of a new, zero-emission vehicle that retails for around $5,000 to $13,000. With much of the state’s farming activities taking place in areas in desperate need of cleaner air, these vehicles will indeed help.

  • Advanced technology demonstration projects
    Money is available to demonstrate cleaner technologies in trains, boats, off-road vehicles and buses. The technologies must be within three years of being commercially available in the California.

It is ARB’s hope that the state will continue funding these programs once the state passes a budget and money is dolled out. When that happens, ARB is ready to introduce an additional $3 million for hybrid off-road equipment such as excavators and dozers.

So, get ready to get rid of that old lawn mower in the garage or that old car that you didn’t get to replace during the Fed’s Cash for Clunkers rebate and look forward to some cleaner air.

More information on AB 118 incentives can be found at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aqip/aqip.htm

ARB funding to clean up small trucking fleets

Dated: June 30, 2010

The Air Resources Board has $28 million in grants available through its Voucher Incentive Program (VIP) to help independent truckers and small fleet owners replace or retrofit their older, high-polluting diesel trucks sooner than otherwise would have occurred. Funding for this program is available now on a first come, first served basis. Here’s a primer on the program and how it works:

What is the Voucher Incentive Program?

The Voucher Incentive Program, or VIP, is a state grant program to reduce emissions from diesel trucks. Grants are available to owners of small fleets - one to three trucks - for replacing older, dirtier models with newer, cleaner ones, or for installing soot traps on their existing trucks.

How much are the grants?

In May 2010, the Air Resources Board expanded the range of trucks eligible and raised the grant limit for replacement of high-mileage trucks to $45,000, from the previous $35,000. The Board also established VIP grants of up to $10,000 per truck for installing a soot trap.

What kinds of trucks are eligible?

In order to qualify for a replacement truck, the old truck must have a 2002 model year or older diesel engine. Those with 2004 through 2006 model year diesel engines qualify for the soot trap installation money. The original truck must have been registered with a gross vehicle weight of at least 19,501 pounds. Also, the truck must have been registered in California for the past two years, operating within the state at least 75 percent of the time.

I’ve heard that only high-mileage trucks get funded. Is that true?

No. The minimum mileage requirement is 15,000 miles a year, although trucks with higher mileage and older engines may be eligible for funding up to $45,000.

Why doesn’t the VIP pay more in these tough economic times?

The amount of the VIP grant is not based on need but on a limit that caps the dollar amount by comparing the dollars spent to the emission reductions achieved.

Is there any help for financing the rest of the cost?

Yes. ARB’s loan assistance program provides competitive rate financing for new and used truck purchases and soot traps. The financing also is available for EPA-approved “SmartWay” equipment such as aerodynamic skirts and low rolling resistance tires. Loans are issued through participating financial institutions. Eligibility depends on the size of the fleet and other conditions. More information on ARB’s loan program is available at Financial Assistance for California Trucks- ARB Loans..

Does the replacement truck have to be brand new?

No. Grants can be used to purchase a new or used replacement truck.

What happens to my old truck that has been replaced?

The replaced truck is destroyed.

Does it matter where I buy the truck?

Yes. The truck must be bought from a dealer participating in the VIP. Participating dealers or retrofit installers – currently about 60 statewide – are trained in the program and have VIP applications on hand. Contact the ARB diesel hotline at 866-6DIESEL for assistance.

Can I get funding even if I’m not based in an urban area?

Yes. VIP grants are available to truckers who travel anywhere in California 75% of the time, regardless of where they are based.

Can I use VIP funding to buy a newer port truck?

No. Port trucks – those working in ports and intermodal rails for the past two or more years – are not eligible.

What does the public get in exchange for the grant?

Cleaner air. Replacement of diesel trucks sooner than would have occurred due to age will significantly reduce the public’s risk from breathing toxic ultra-fine particles in diesel exhaust. Numerous studies indicate that reducing diesel emissions results in fewer asthma attacks, hospitalizations and deaths among those with heart and lung problems.

How do I apply?

Applications are available at participating truck dealers and soot trap installers.

How long does it take to get approved?

Applicants are notified within five business days.

For other questions, please call the ARB diesel hotline at 866-6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or visit Truckstop.

California SmartWay Regulation

Dated: May 05, 2010

If you have noticed the sleek, modern appearance of big-rig tractors and trailers traveling down the highway lately, you are not imagining things. These new big-rig tractors and trailers have side skirting on the undercarriage and tires that provide less air resistance and promote a smoother, more fuel-efficient ride.

California adopted its heavy duty diesel greenhouse gas emissions reduction regulation in December 2008. Its goal is to improve fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions from long-haul trucks, hence their new, streamlined appearance. The Air Resources Board estimates the regulation will save truckers about $8.6 billion, as well as 750 million gallons of diesel fuel in California and 5 billion gallons of diesel fuel nationwide between the years 2010 and 2020. Individual fleet owners can expect an annual fuel savings of $3,250 to $4,060 per tractor-trailer combination that will take an estimated 1 to 2.3 years to pay for itself, making the purchase extremely cost effective.

The regulation utilizes elements of the US EPA’s “SmartWay” program, which calls for environmentally cleaner, more fuel efficient transportation options to be made available to the trucking industry.

ARB has collected the most commonly asked questions and answers about this new technology and regulation below.

Who needs to comply with the regulation?

The regulation applies to all owners of 53-foot or longer box-type trailers, including both dry-van and refrigerated-van trailers, and the owners of heavy-duty tractors that pull them on California highways.

Besides the owners of these vehicles, drivers, motor carriers, California-based brokers and California-based shippers may also be held responsible for compliance with the regulation.

Do I still need to comply with the regulation if my vehicle is registered outside of California?

All owners, regardless of where their vehicles are registered, must meet the requirements of the regulation when they drive their vehicles on California highways.

What equipment will meet the requirements of the regulation?

  1. Tractors:

    2010 model year or older tractors must have U.S. EPA SmartWay Program (SmartWay) low rolling resistance tires. 2011 model year or newer longhaul tractors with sleeper berths must be SmartWay certified.

  2. Trailers:

    Trailers must be equipped with compliant U.S. EPA SmartWay Program (SmartWay) aerodynamic technologies and low rolling resistance tires. Some examples of these technologies are:

    • Trailer rear fairings;
    • Trailer front gap fairings;
    • Trailer side skirts

Here is a detailed listing of SmartWay approved low rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic technologies.

Is there financial assistance available to help purchase this equipment?

Yes. ARB’s Heavy-Duty Vehicle Air Quality Loan Program may be able to provide assistance to comply with the regulation. More information is available at ARB's Loan Program website.

Also, the EPA SmartWay program offers financial assistance information through the SmartWay Finance Center.

What is the difference between the trailer requirements for small and large fleets and what are the large and small fleet compliance provisions?

A small fleet is defined as a fleet with 20 or fewer trailers while a large fleet is defined as having more than 20 trailers. Small fleets need to register all 20 or fewer trailers in their fleet in order to qualify for the small fleet provision while large fleets only need to register their California bound trailers to qualify for the large fleet provision.

The small fleet provision is a phase-in schedule between the years of 2014 to 2017 in which the total percentage of trailers must meet the requirements of the regulation. (See table below) In order for small fleets to take advantage of this provision, they must submit a Small Fleet Compliance Plan by July 1, 2012. The large fleet provision is a phase-in schedule between the years of 2010 and 2016 in which registration is required for only California bound trailers. (See table below) In order to take advantage of this compliance option, large fleets must submit a Large Fleet Compliance Plan by July 1, 2010. Both of the small and large fleet provisions apply to 2010 model year and older box-type trailers that travel in California.

Small Fleet Compliance Schedule



Must comply before January 1 of: 2014 2015 2016 2017
% of Trailer Fleet That Must Comply 25% 50% 75% 100%

Large Fleet Compliance Schedule





Must comply before January 1 of: 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
% of Trailer Fleet That Must Comply 5% 15% 30% 50% 75% 100%

What are the requirements of the regulation and when must I comply?

The model year of the vehicle, the requirement(s ) and deadlines to comply are listed in the tables below:

For Tractors:
Model year Requirement(s) Deadline
2011 and newer sleeper-cab tractors Sleeper-cab tractors that pull trailers must be SmartWay certified Beginning January 1, 2010
2011 and newer day-cab tractors Day-cab tractors that pull affected trailers must use SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires Beginning January 1, 2010
All pre-2011 tractors that pull affected trailers Affected trailers must use SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires Beginning January 1, 2012

For Trailers:
Model year Requirement(s) Deadline
2011 and newer 53-foot or longer box-type trailers Trailers must be either SmartWay certified or retrofitted with SmartWay verified technologies that meet 5% fuel efficiency for dry vans and a 4% fuel efficiency improvement for a refrigerated van and low rolling resistance tires. Beginning January 1, 2010
Pre-2011 53-foot or longer box-type trailers (with the exception of certain 2003 to 2008 refrigerated-van trailers) Box-type trailers must meet the same requirements as 2011 and newer trailers
  • By January 1, 2013
  • or
  • Owners can phase-in compliance of their fleet over a period of time but must register by: July 1, 2010 for large fleets and; July 1, 2012 for small fleets
2003 to 2008 refrigerated-van trailers equipped with 2003 or subsequent transport refrigeration units or TRUs Meet the same requirements as 2011 and newer trailers Between the years of 2017 and 2019

What types of equipment do not have to comply with this regulation?

  • Curtain side vans;
  • Military tactical vehicles;
  • Solid waste vehicles;
  • Authorized emergency vehicles;
  • Container chassis;
  • Drayage tractors and trailers that operate within a 100 mile radius of a port or intermodal rail yard; and,
  • Drop frame vans.

Are there any special exceptions to this regulation?

Yes. Short-haul tractors that drive less than 50,000 miles per year are exempt from aerodynamic requirements of the regulation. Local-haul tractors and trailers that operate within a 100 mile radius from a home base are exempt from the aerodynamics requirements, but not from the tire requirements. Short-haul tractors, local-haul tractors and trailers need to be registered with ARB in order to obtain this exemption.

How do I find more information about the specific technologies that have been certified or verified by the SmartWay program?

You can find this information by contacting:
SmartWay Partnership Program
SmartWay Call Center: (734) 214-4767
Address: 2000 Traverwood
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Email: SmartWay Transport
Web: SmartWay

Are there going to be any additional changes or modifications made to the regulation?

Yes. ARB will be recommending regulatory modifications to the Board in fall of 2010. These recommendations include providing an additional phase-in option for large fleets, allowing them additional time to register and report their activity; to allow fleets to report compliance activity on an annual basis; and the creation of a new exemption for storage trailers. In addition, other minor modifications to the regulation will also be proposed.

Where can I learn more?

A summary of the regulation can be found at ARB's Heavy Duty (Tractor-Trailer) Website and also at ARB's Truck Stop.

Further help with the regulation is also available by calling ARB’s diesel hotline at (866) 6DIESEL (634-3735) or by email.

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About the Newsletter

In each column of the California Trucking News, we answer the most commonly asked questions about diesel truck topics.

For further questions contact the ARB California Trucking News Editor