Regulators Setting CO2 Emissions Standards for Future Cars and Trucks
Just months after establishing mileage and emissions standards for model year (MY) 2012-16 cars and light trucks, the Obama administration has begun work on even stronger rules for 2017 and beyond. In June 2010 President Obama directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce emissions of conventional pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides. The president also instructed regulators to establish fuel economy and carbon dioxide (CO2) standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks for the first time beginning in MY 2014. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is also pursuing CO2 standards for MY 2017-25 cars and trucks. CARB intends to coordinate its action with the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with the automakers and other stakeholders, with the goal of setting a single national standard.
Last April, the EPA and NHTSA completed action on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and CO2 emissions standards for light-duty vehicles through MY 2016. The two issues are related since CO2 is released in direct proportion to the amount of carbon-based fuel that is burned. The action matched the CO2 standards previously adopted by California, and recognized that state's authority to establish its own CO2 standards in the future. The automakers participated in formulating the SEMA-supported rules since it provided a national approach to regulating CO2 emissions rather than a patchwork of state rules. Federal regulators intend to issue a "game plan" for MY 2017-25 light-duty vehicles by September 2010 and adopt a final rule by mid-2012. CARB officials want to complete action on the CO2 standards by the end of 2010.
New Certification Procedure for Diesel Performance Parts
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued its new test procedure and related requirements to obtain Executive Orders (E.O.s) for emissions-related diesel performance parts. Of note is CARB's development of a "Parts in Progress List" that identifies companies having submitted all traditional E.O. applications materials but who must now address additional requirements. By following the required steps, parts will be prevented from causing failure of the emissions-check test. This new program provides an opportunity for diesel parts manufacturers to submit all E.O. application materials and include responses to additional questions to be asked by CARB. Upon successful completion of this initial process, applicants will be given one year to conduct the required emissions tests and obtain E.O.s (which began July 1, 2010 and ends July 1, 2011), during which time no diesel vehicle equipped with parts in the certification process (Part in Progress List) will fail the visual portion of the California Bureau of Automotive Repair's (BAR's) emissions-check test. The deadline for being included on the "Parts in Progress List" was July 1, 2010, after which time a company would not qualify for the one-year period to obtain certification. To view the current CARB Parts in Progress List, go to www.arb.ca.gov, click on "aftermarket parts," identify and click on the "Parts in Progress" link, and the current list should appear. CARB will be updating this list on a continuing basis, adding the names and products of companies who have qualified for the program. The BAR emissions-check stations will be referencing this part of the CARB website to identify products that will not cause failure of the emissions-check's visual portion. SEMA has and will continue to monitor this program and update affected members with any new information. SEMA would also like to acknowledge the contributions made by Gale Banks Engineering in establishing this new program, which will be invaluable to the affected members of our industry.