Monday, July 7, 2014

CARB Truck & Bus Advisory Released - PM Filters Remain a Key Strategy for Fleet Owners

Guest Contributor: Sean Edgar, Director,

On June 27, California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff issued guidance on the April 2014 amendments to the Truck and Bus Regulation.  Below is a summary of the major provisions.

The most important step for fleet owners to take is to catch up if they are behind on filter installations and to update their CARB TRUCRS account as soon as possible to reflect their compliance actions.

What We Know:
The following summarizes the Advisory that is posted on the CARB website.
  • Past “Good Faith Effort” (GFE) Truck Owners: Owners that registered with CARB in late 2013 or early 2014 that ordered a PM filter retrofit must complete the action and must update their CARB registration by July 1, 2014 or face penalties (see Failure to Comply, below).
  • Future Economic Hardship Extension: There will be a narrow window for small fleets to apply for some additional delay, however it will take several more months to determine the application process.  In April, the Board directed changes to be made so that the delay could only be applied for by owners that are truly financially unable to comply and have auditable proof that no financing options are available. The details are being revised and will be made available for public comment period before they can be finalized. If you have a filter ordered and is pending installation we highly recommend that you keep that installation date as it is speculation at this point who can or will be eligible for this provision. It appears at this stage that a high level of documentation and statements under penalty of perjury will be required to be filed with CARB.
  • Low Mileage Trucks: “Work trucks” may retroactively claim this status by reporting no later than July 31, 2014. These thresholds are up to 20,000 miles total miles on the truck per calendar year. The minimum PM filter requirement is 40% of the entire fleet by the end of 2014 so every filter that is now waiting to be installed or ordered by September 1, 2014 “counts” toward the 40% minimum.
  • “Green Zone/N0x Exempt" Areas: The good news for trucks staying exclusively in these areas is that they have enjoyed extra time while CARB modifies the regulation. What is now clear is that 25% of the fleet must have PM filters by 12/31/2014. Every filter that is now waiting to be installed or ordered by September 1, 2014 “counts” toward the 25% minimum.
  • Failure to Comply: Vehicle owners that are non-compliant or fail to complete the good faith efforts to comply with the regulation by July 1, 2014, may be subject to penalties and possible Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) registration holds. Vehicles operating without current DMV registration are subject to enforcement actions by law enforcement which may include vehicle impoundment.
What CleanFleets is doing is:
  • Providing insured and guaranteed CARB registration services for CDTI customers,
  • Performing new registration for customers who can now opt into the categories described.
CleanFleets has already registered over 5,000 trucks with CARB and can be reached at 916-520-6040 Ext 102 or at to obtain additional information.

About Sean Edgar,

Sean Edgar has 23 years of field experience in transportation, construction and air quality projects for clients in both the public and private sectors. For the past 15 years, his consulting practice has consisted of regulatory compliance regarding transportation and air quality issues. 

Sean has established a presence at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and is a member of CARB’s Truck Regulations Advisory Committee - authorized to train business owners about CARB rules. Over the past two years, Sean has educated more than 4,000 fleet owners in six western states and is a recognized expert regarding CARB’s on-road fleet rule implementation and technology options.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What do DPFs and your kitchen stove have in common?

During my years working in diesel emissions, I’ve come across some interesting relationships between myths - one of the most interesting between "self-cleaning" ovens and “maintenance-free" diesel particulate filters (DPFs).

By design, a DPF captures solid combustion byproducts within the exhaust stream – burning them off to clean itself when the DPF reaches a certain temperature for a specific time period. This burn-off (also known as DPF regeneration) is almost identical to a self-cleaning cycle for the stove in your kitchen.

But similar to your stove, burning-off creates remnant non-combustible ash that remains inside. Just like you still have to clean the ash out of the bottom of a "self-cleaning" oven, ash still needs to be manually removed from a "maintenance-free" DPF to keep it from eventually plugging-up.

While you usually only need to sweep the ash out of the bottom of your kitchen stove, cleaning a DPF is a much more elaborate operation. Inside a DPF, ash must typically be removed using a reverse flow of forced air to loosen and remove the ash, sometimes accompanied by addition heating in an oven to ensure thorough soot burn-off.

A few DPF manufacturers have tried to claim their DPFs are “maintenance-free”, with disappointing results – in some cases going so far as “de-listing” of their CARB verifications and being forced to change their designs.

As you evaluate DPFs during your CARB compliance process, I recommend approaching “maintenance-free” claims with a healthy dose of skepticism. And if you already own a “maintenance-free” DPF, you should still get it checked routinely for inevitable ash buildup, before it causes a problem.

While you’re at it, you may want to go home and check out that "self-cleaning" kitchen stove too.

As always, if you have questions about CARB compliant DPFs or CARB requirements, feel free to contact us via email or at 800-331-9247 (press 9).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Enforcement of diesel regulations continues - CARB settles over $750,000 in fines so far in 2013

According to the CARB website, more than $750,000 in diesel emission-related fines have been settled in 2013, with more still pending settlement. CARB enforcement locations include:
  • CHP weigh stations
  • On-site visits to fleet facilities
  • California border crossings
  • Random roadside locations
Since January, more than 45 companies operating diesel-powered vehicles and equipment have settled their emissions violations with CARB - with an average settlement of almost $17,000.

In addition to the $750,000 in fines settled so far this year, over $2,000,000 in penalties were reported last year and it appears that CARB enforcement efforts will continue for diesel-powered fleets and equipment.

The enforcement efforts at CARB seem to get more stringent as time passes. Based on an official CARB enforcement letter: "non-compliance can result in a DMV registration block on your truck and/or having your vehicle impounded by CHP until it is in compliance."

If you are an equipment owner, this means you should approach your compliance process with a sense of urgency - otherwise your ability to even operate may be affected.

As we've mentioned previously in our emails, it is always a good practice to start your compliance process early, but now it can be crucial to ensuring that you can obtain a CARB compliant DPF in time for your CARB equipment deadline.

As such, I strongly urge you to initiate your CARB compliance process as soon as possible to ensure CARB-compliant DPFs are available to be installed on your equipment.

As always, if you have questions about CARB compliance deadlines, requirements or options to become CARB compliant, feel free to contact us via email or at 800-331-9247 (press 9).

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CARB Penalties - Visible and Hidden

As discussed in my earlier entry, CARB's "Gear up for Clean Truck Month" was going to manifest the pressure for compliance that we can expect to see from their ongoing enforcement efforts. Based on discussion with CARB officials, their efforts have yielded approximately $1.8 million in penalties in only 2 months.

As a result, the press coverage of this enforcement initiative and CARB's overall enforcement efforts by TV, Radio and newspapers is growing. In addition to the penalties, there are other enforcement efforts that are not yet as high-profile, but can be just as damaging to fleet and equipment owners as the penalties themselves.

Because CARB settlements are considered a matter of "public record", CARB has created a settlement page on their website - noting violators and the fines paid by them. Companies such as JR Transportes, Jake's Towing and All-Star Auto Recycling have already seen their names and fines get published on the CARB website and there are still 118 companies pending settlements that will be posted.

While having your fine amount listed on the CARB website may seem harmless at first, it is only a matter of days until that listing is automatically "picked-up" by popular search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Potential customers and brokers that might employ your services frequently use the internet to investigate service providers and your violations and penalties could now appear among their search results.

Since these supply chain partners carry liability for CARB violations, companies having violations listed on the CARB website will now be at a distinct competitive disadvantage from normally risk-averse shippers and brokers. This means that your business could potentially experience the hidden penalty - losing out or never learning about sales opportunities due to penalty listings.

You can avoid this possibility by simply becoming compliant with CARB's requirements. This is why we've been trying to keep you informed and provide you with information on CARB requirements, CARB-compliant DPFs, and even DPF financing options

If you have questions, or are not sure how to become CARB-compliant, simply give us a call at 800-331-9247 (press 9) or email us at Our compliance specialist can help you get started and avoid both visible and hidden CARB penalties.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CARB Turns Up The Heat

Looks like CARB is getting around to enforcing diesel emissions mandates. Per my earlier post, the political pressure on CARB, coupled with California’s financial woes can be a powerful driver to accelerate revenue-generating activities for the State of California.

Recent coverage in Land Line Magazine and the website are documenting that CARB is “turning up the heat” on enforcing emissions mandates this summer. So you can expect to start encountering enforcement officials at weigh stations, truck stops, state entry points and other high-traffic locales.

As I’ve noted before, truck and fleet owners aren’t the only ones who will be responsible for equipment compliance. Customers and even shipping brokers can also be held responsible for shipping materials on non-compliant equipment. CARB was already enforcing stringent penalties on some brokers as early as last year.

CARB emissions penalties on fleet and equipment owners are no laughing matter either, with fines of up to $10,000 per vehicle per day, holds on registration renewals and transfers and even liens on property in some cases. Fleets and owners that are not compliant not only risk fines, but risk there businesses and livelihoods as well.

All of this boils down to the fact that CARB is now starting to take their enforcement efforts (and its revenue potential) very seriously – trying to dodge this enforcement can prove costly (if not fatal) to your business. Your sense of urgency should be high at this point if your equipment is non-compliant…

If you are not sure what your compliance requirements are or how to get started, I would recommend visiting our CARB Action Webpage or contacting our CARB Compliance Team at 1-800-331-9247 (press “9”) or via email at They can help you get started…