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UPS goes electricUPS electric truck

On February 5, 2013 UPS unveiled their new fully electric trucks. The event was held at United Parcel’s West Sacramento distribution facility, with California’s Governor Jerry Brown as guest speaker.

UPS will have a total of 100 of these zero-emission trucks out-and-about. The trucks were built by Electric Vehicle International (EVI) at their Stockton California Manufacturing plant. The expected reduced fuel consumption is 126,000 gallons a year, which is a significant reduction that will also lower carbon emissions.

These trucks are part of Governor Brown’s executive order to put some 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles onto the state’s roadways by 2025.

A State Agency Partnership Successfully Reaches Out to Truckers

woman next to truckThe California Air Resources Board (ARB) is partnering with other state agencies to reach small businesses subject to the state’s diesel truck pollution laws.

As part of the August “Gear Up for Clean Truck Month” campaign, ARB worked with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to provide compliance information to hundreds of truckers passing through CDFA agricultural inspection stations. By coordinating outreach efforts at two of the 16 CDFA locations, ARB reached a high volume of drivers, many of whom were from out-of-state and unaware of California diesel truck pollution laws.

Since all commercial vehicles must stop at CDFA inspection stations to ensure they meet California regulatory requirements, the onsite opportunity was a great way for ARB to reach out to the trucking community.

During the campaign, ARB staff worked alongside CDFA inspectors at the Nevada and Oregon borders to distribute more than 1,200 information packets to diesel truck owners and operators. Approximately 100-200 trucks pass through the Truckee and Hornbrook stations per hour. Therefore, this effort was an effective strategy for reaching a large volume of trucks in a short span of time.

CDFA inspects vehicles and commodities to ensure they are pest-free where truckers enter California from Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Mexico. Because of the number of truckers and the variety of loads observed entering through Truckee and Hornbrook, ARB plans include regular collaboration with CFDA at additional facilities along the California border.

The first step toward compliance is a clear understanding and awareness of the requirements.

For more information on ARB’s diesel regulations visit the TruckStop website, attend ARB training, send an e-mail to 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov, or call the 1-866-6DIESEL hotline.

$100 Million Milestone Reached in California Truck Lease and Loan Assistance

The California Air Resources Board along with the California Pollution Control Financing Authority, part of the State Treasurer’s Office, has provided financial assistance to small-business truckers to the tune of $100 million. 

truck These funds are made available through a financial assistance program that provides loans and lease-to-own opportunities (known as Terminal Rental Adjustment Clause, or “TRAC”).  The program is available to small business owners with 100 or fewer employees and $10 million or less in annual revenue that primarily operates in California.

The loan guarantee programs are designed to assist truckers who are prepared to comply ahead of schedule for either the statewide clean truck and bus regulation, or the heavy-duty tractor-trailer greenhouse gas reduction regulation.  Both of these were adopted in 2008 and are part of the state’s overall commitment to cut toxic diesel emissions 85 percent by 2020.

This program, known as Providing Loan Assistance for California Equipment (PLACE), helps truckers comply with these regulations, providing them an affordable way to reduce emissions, increase fuel efficiency, and save money.

So far the program has been instrumental in issuing 1,511 purchasing loans and 88 leases, totaling 1599 financing agreements.  These funds also helped purchase 1,671 clean trucks and 183 exhaust retrofits (installation of special filters on older trucks that capture 85 percent of the exhaust soot.)

For more information about PLACE program financing vist the California Capital Access Program page.

For further information on the state’s diesel reduction programs, visit the Truckstop page, or call 1-866-6DIESEL or email 8666DIESEL@arb.ca.gov

SmartWay-verified tire retreads now available for big rig trucks and trailers

tireAs part of the compliance requirements for California Air Resources Board's Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas regulation, fleets must install low rolling resistance (LRR) tires on tractors starting in 2013. In conjunction with the US EPA’s SmartWay program, LRR tires have been studied and tested to ensure they reduce the amount of rolling road resistance and increase fuel economy. Along with other tractor and trailer requirements such as installing aerodynamic technologies (e.g., side skirts and fairings), fleets could see fuel economy increase by as much as 10 percent or more.

SmartWay-verified LRR tires are available as new purchase tires and can now also be bought as retreads. Before investing, buyers should make sure they are acquiring SmartWay-verified tires or SmartWay-verified retreads. Only SmartWay-verified equipment has been studied, tested and proven to reduce rolling resistance and drag to increase fuel economy. By simply installing verified LRR tires on the tractor and trailer, an owner/operator could see fuel cost savings of over $2,000 per year (assuming the distance traveled is 100,000 miles or more per year and fuel is priced at $4.00 per gallon). Add a SmartWay-certified tractor and a trailer with a SmartWay-verified aerodynamic kit, and the fuel cost savings could exceed $6,900 for a tractor-trailer combination.

For the latest information on SmartWay verified tires and retreads, please visit the SmartWay website.

Small Fleet Registration Deadline for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Extended

The California Air Resources Board has extended the registration deadline for the Small Fleet Compliance Plan regarding the Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas regulation. The new compliance date is January 1, 2013.This extension will provide fleets with 20 or fewer affected trailers, that have not already registered, to use a compliance option under the regulation to participate in the extended phase-in option of the Small Fleet Compliance Plan that begins in 2013 and ends in 2016.

The Tractor-Trailer GHG regulation applies to 53-foot or longer dry van or refrigerated van trailers (box-type trailers) and the tractors that pull them on California highways. The regulation requires these tractor-trailers to utilize certain aerodynamic equipment and low rolling resistance tires, as verified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (known as SmartWay technologies.)

“We have made the online reporting process as user-friendly as possible, so there is no reason to put it off,” said Stephan Lemieux, manager of ARB’s on-road heavy-duty diesel section.

Small fleet owners of 2010 and older model year trailers have two choices to bring their fleets into compliance. They can either ensure their fleet is equipped with U.S. EPA “SmartWay” verified aerodynamic equipment on their trailers by January 1, 2013, or they can choose the phase-in compliance plan which requires owners to report their information to ARB by the January 1.2013 date. By choosing the phase-in option, they can take up to four years to comply with the regulation. Regardless of which method owners choose, they must also install fuel efficient, low-rolling resistance tires on their trailer fleets by January 1, 2017.

To get started with the reporting process, visit Tractor-Trailer GHG Reporting and have the trailer vehicle identification numbers, makes and model years, and license plate numbers handy. For refrigerated-van trailers, the transport refrigeration unit (TRU), model year and engine model year are both required.

Aerodynamic technologies such as those included in the SmartWay program are designed to help cut fuel consumption, saving owners money and helping to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. The program will deliver anticipated savings of about three billion gallons of diesel fuel by 2020 from nationwide operations.

Fleet owners seeking more information on compliance assistance and funding opportunities can visit ARB’s TruckStop, call the Diesel Hotline at 866-6-DIESEL (1-866-634-3735), or review the tractor-trailer greenhouse gas regulation website.

Guide to Maintaining Diesel Particulate Filters Now Available

Dated: September 14, 2012
Contact: Eric Patton

The Air Resources Board’s new handbook “A Truck Driver’s Guide to Care and Maintenance of Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs)” is now available on the Truck Stop website.

The handbook is geared for owner/operators whose trucks have been retrofitted with a DPF or soot filter. The main theme of the handbook is that a DPF is not a “fit and forget” device and operators should protect their investment by understanding the needs of the new system. Using non-technical language and illustrations, the operator is guided through engine maintenance items that must be performed to keep the engine and the DPF operating properly.

The handbook also discusses the importance of maintaining the proper engine duty cycle, observing DPF warning lights, and use of correct procedures for routine handling and cleaning of filters. The handbook will help the operators to gain an understanding of the regeneration system used by their DPF.

The DPF is a mechanical device and occasional problems may arise due to factors related to manufacturing, installation, or engine maintenance practices. The handbook provides a simple protocol (with ARB contact information) the operators can use to resolve DPF related performance or reliability problems.

ARB plans to make available hard copies of this handbook in a 6 inch by 9 inch booklet format operators can easily carry and consult on a regular basis. Handbooks will be made available through all DPF installers in California and other outreach mechanisms involving ARB participation such as training or trucking events. Handbooks can also be ordered by contacting ARB at 1-866-6DIESEL or 8666Diesel@arb.ca.gov.

SF firm chooses hybrid delivery trucks

State program helps Veritable Vegetable save money, clean the air

More information:
Background Information Regarding the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project

Gear Up For Clean Truck Month

Dated: (update) September 26, 2012
Contact: Cassandra Hockenson

August was a big month for us here at ARB. It was Gear Up for Clean Truck Month, a campaign launched by the Air Resources Board to ensure that trucks traversing California highways are in compliance with state air pollution laws.

Working in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol, and other allied agencies, ARB deployed inspectors throughout the state, focusing on the most heavily traveled routes. The goal was to enforce diesel regulations ARB has developed that are designed to protect public health by providing cleaner, healthier air.

Focusing on enforcement not only gives ARB the chance to educate drivers on why these regulations are important, but to insure compliance, and level the playing field between those truckers who have invested in the cleaner equipment with those who are not playing by the rules.

The campaign provided advice and educational materials at the various stops that included information on maintaining the equipment properly, as well as grants and funding that may be available now and in the future to help purchase clean trucks and related equipment.

Truckers with questions can visit the ARB website or contact ARB at 1-866-6-DIESEL or email 8666Diesel@arb.ca.gov.

A smart way to reduce greenhouse gases

Dated: July 24, 2012
Contact: Cassandra Hockenson

The California Air Resources Board’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation uses SmartWay technologies to reduce Greenhouse Gases for a cleaner and healthier California, and saves truckers money in the long run.

ARB Renews Funding for Clean Vehicles

Last month the Air Resources board approved $27 million to provide incentives for the purchase of advanced-technology passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks and buses. The California Energy Commission has committed an additional $5 million.

Ten Million dollars of these funds are to provide incentives for the purchase of clean hybrid and electric heavy-duty trucks or buses through the AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program, AQIP. The purpose is to increase the number of ultra-clean vehicles sold in California, with a long-term goal of increased competition in the manufacturing of these types of vehicles.

As demand increases and more of these vehicles are manufactured, costs will go down, making them more affordable for truckers. This will reduce our dependency on oil, and clean up our air for a healthier California. “In the long run this will be more economical for everyone.” Many of the larger truck fleets have already taken advantage of this program, but ARB encourages small fleets to take part.

Another $2 million of these funds will be used for advanced technology demonstration projects that support the commercialization of new vehicles and equipment.

The Air Quality Improvement Act (AQIP) began in 2008 and so far has serviced 7,500 passenger car and over 1000 trucks or buses. It’s one of several consumer incentives funded under the California Alternative and Renewable Fuel, Vehicle Technology, Clean air, and Carbon Reduction Act of 2007 (also known as AB 118).

Helping Truckers Comply—Only a Click or Call Away

With a number of regulations affecting the diesel community—most notably, the Truck and Bus Regulation and the Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Regulations—the Air Resources Board established a more comprehensive approach to outreach and compliance assistance to meet the needs of the affected trucking community.

The 1-866-6-DIESEL (1-866-634-3735) hotline is toll-free and staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The hotline is staffed by operators that handle English, Spanish, and Punjabi speaking callers.

Hotline staff provide personalized customer-service to each caller requesting compliance information and assistance, with the average call ranging anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Many callers have expressed their thanks for this customized service. Becky McGeeney is one of those individuals. Representing Swinerton Inc., a nationally-based commercial construction fleet, Ms. McGeeney stated, “I would like to let you know that everyone I have dealt with in your department is wonderful and very helpful. It is so nice to be able to call or email and get a response quickly and accurately. Thanks again!”

So far this year alone, the hotline and program staff have spoken with over 22,000 callers, requesting information on any one of the existing mobile-source diesel programs— in large part, calls have been related to the recent Truck and Bus and Greenhouse Gas Regulations’ deadlines.

For a better understanding of the high call volumes, this number equates to approximately 2,000 calls per week, or 50 calls per hour. To compare, the 2012 year-to-date call volume is nearly equal to all calls taken in 2011 when the hotline dealt with just over 28,000 callers. This includes helping over 2,000 Spanish-speaking callers and 200 Punjabi-speaking callers this year.

In addition to answering incoming calls, the personalized service from the hotline includes sending follow-up written communication at the request of the caller via email or fax. Hotline staff sent 1600 emails as follow-up to the 22,000 callers from the period of January to May.

Other program staff also responded to almost 2,700 emails received by 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov during the same peak period.

To handle the large call volumes, staff researched alternative ways of providing compliance assistance. The use of the TruckStop website and ARB’s public training classes have been key in providing compliance assistance and are widely promoted to fleet owners. Over the past few months, staff has made many changes to TruckStop with the addition of visual aids such as voice recordings and instructional videos. Additionally, staff included real-time program updates, and added easier navigation and search features on TruckStop. ARB, in partnership with its contractor, CleanFleets, was able to conduct over 150 training classes with more than 5,400 attendees.

As mid-year approaches, ARB’s outreach efforts are helping regulated stakeholders comply. Through the 1-866-6DIESEL hotline, TruckStop website, and training classes — all provided cost-free — ARB is reaching a new audience of both large fleets and small fleet owner/operators in the trucking community.

The diesel regulations are complex with many flexibility options and deadlines that vary depending on the type of vehicle owned, engine year, total mileage operated, and other factors; however, ARB has made it a first priority to provide easily accessible, easy to use compliance assistance and information.

The first stop for more information on ARB’s diesel regulations is to check TruckStop, attend ARB or Clean Fleets classes, send an e-mail 8666diesel@arb.ca.gov, or call the 1-866-6DIESEL hotline for clarification. The first step toward compliance is a clear understanding and awareness of the requirements.

For questions or comments contact CATruckinQandA@arb.ca.gov

Moving forward with clean diesel

Dated: June 1, 2012
Contact: Cassandra Hockenson

On February 28, 2012, the California Air Resources Board hosted a Diesel Technology Showcase put on by the Diesel Technology Forum. The event showcased the advances in clean diesel technology and celebrated the successful advancements in clean diesel equipment that the diesel industry has made.

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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