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 carb@cdti.com. 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 truckinginfo.com 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 ecs@enginecontrolsystems.com. They can help you get started…

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Stakes for CARB Compliance Grow...

The stakes of CARB emissions compliance in California continue to increase as the organization is drawing more attention to itself...

CARB recently received accolades from global leaders - during a presentation to many attendees from recent G8 Conference about emissions reduction programs.

During this discussion, a Senior Policy Advisor from the US-EPA also projected an 86% decline in black carbon emissions from mobile sources - thanks in part to DPF retrofit mandates like CARB's

This contributes to CARB's reputation as an "opinion leader" on emissions reduction legislation. This recognition provides a platform for politicians in many other municipalities or even countries to use CARB's "success" as impetus to enact environmental legislation of their own. 

For us, CARB's expanded persona and inherent political risk now requires their strict adherence to deadlines and active enforcement of mandates. 

Failing to adhere to their own standards will jeopardize the success of CARB's emissions reduction program and their reputation in front of a now global audience.

Friday, April 20, 2012

CARB Plays Both Ends to the Middle

Recently, I was reminded that truck owners and fleets aren’t the only ones held responsible for emissions compliance. CARB legislation also stipulates responsibility to be incurred by the entire supply chain - including brokers, dispatchers and even shippers themselves.

According to an article by the California Construction Trucking Association, CARB requires that shippers, dispatchers and other supply chain members will need to obtain compliance documentation from their shipping partners, or risk sharing in the penalties for non-compliance. 

Included in the same article, CARB has teamed up with the California Highway Patrol and Department of Motor Vehicles to place “holds” or impounds on hundreds of trucks. This activity will undoubtedly add to the $2.4 million in penalties that CARB has levied over the past year - including $227,000 in penalties during the 4th quarter of 2011.

The effects of this could be devastating on your revenue if you are a fleet or owner that is unable to provide compliance documentation, as non-compliance could now cause your customers to look elsewhere for their needs. 

This is why you should get compliant with CARB requirements as soon as possible – avoid being trapped between potential fines from CARB and lost revenue from customers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Case for Testing Opacity is Clear

Driving home recently, I noticed a truck quite a distance ahead of me. It was conspicuous due to the dark smoke plume coming from its stack. As I caught up to it, I was greeted with a bumper sticker proudly proclaiming, “Just ‘cause there’s smoke, don’t mean it’s broke!” 

It’s probably a safe bet the truck was certainly not being properly maintained – no modern highway diesel engine should continually output visible smoke. Indeed, the vast majority of 1994 to 2006 on-highway diesels have peak opacity less than 10% in documents submitted to the EPA. Typically, most states specify peak opacity limits for diesel engines at 30-40% - three to four times more than diesel engines should have when functioning normally. Naturally, the state of California has several programs dealing with exhaust opacity. 

More importantly, many enforcement officers use visible exhaust emissions to select trucks to inspect. During my recent discussions with some of them, one officer unofficially told me that 9 of every 10 trucks having clearly visible exhaust opacity will fail inspection and likely be penalized – not particularly reassuring when you drive visibly-smoking equipment that makes you a target for inspections. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

CARB Compliance - "A Good Offense is the Best Defense"

That quote has been attributed to everyone from Jack Dempsey to Vince Lombardi. But it came to mind while reading a recent news release from CARB – publicly naming companies in violation of CARB requirements and their payments for fines.

In case you have not seen it, CARB is actively publishing the fines it has assessed on various businesses for non-compliance with CARB mandates. Their most recent announcement notes a total of $383,000 in fine payments during the third quarter of 2011.

Whether you agree with the new CARB requirements or not, it is becoming abundantly clear that they are going to be taking enforcement very seriously. This public naming of CARB violators and penalties could negatively affect perception of fleets and even their fiscal status (depending upon size of the fine payments).

This is why the “best defense” for CARB compliance is a “good offense”. By this time, fleets need to be proactively educating themselves about CARB requirements for their equipment and aggressively evaluating CARB-verified systems to bring them into compliance.

Passively “playing defense” and waiting for CARB to start enforcement will likely be the strategy for some fleets, but it will be a very costly strategy…

If you’d like to stay informed about CARB news and how it may affect your fleet, please subscribe to this blog. If you have specific questions about CARB topics, please feel free to visit www.CARBcompliance.info or contact me via email.