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AECS Takes the Mystery Out of the CARB Lawsuit Decision

Shows magnifying glass revealing clues with headline Read about recent decision on CARB lawsuit.

Have you heard the latest CARB lawsuit news affecting diesel emission compliance?

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) lost its appeal to allow small truck companies to delay compliance with emissions requirements. This January 31st ruling declared that CARB did not conform to the proper procedures when it allowed small fleets a temporary reprieve from following emission standards.

In essence, California’s Fifth District Court of Appeals concluded that CARB overstepped its authority to bend the 2016 ruling in order to level the playing field between large and small truck fleet owners. This CARB lawsuit put a stop to giving some noncompliant companies a “pass” while insisting that other fleet owners spend millions of dollars in order to comply.

This lawsuit was brought forward by John R. Lawson Rock & Oil Inc. a Fresno-based trucking firm that was forced to spend over $8 million to purchase a fleet of 125 new trucks because their old trucks were not compliant with CARB regulations. Together with the California Trucking Association (CTA), they sued CARB when it amended rules in 2014 to give smaller trucking companies more time to comply.

“The appellate court’s decision is a significant victory for CTA and compliant truck fleets of all sizes who spent millions to comply with CARB’s 2008 Truck and Bus Rule only to have the rules of the game changed midway through. The so-called grace period put compliant fleets at a financial and competitive disadvantage to those that, year after year, dragged their feet or refused to comply with the rule, ” according to Shawn Yadon, CEO of the CTA in a statement.

CARB plans to appeal this recent decision. Richard Core, CARB Executive Officer, stated that the regulation was amended so that “the little guys” could comply.

CARB’s proposed changes in 2014 included:

  • A more generous, lengthier phase-in period for trucks that operate in rural areas with cleaner air
  • Additional time for small fleet owners to meet diesel particulate matter (DPM) requirements to afford them the ability to apply for public funding
  • An alternate compliance route for owners that cannot qualify for loans to finance compliancy upgrades
  • Adjusted schedules for low-use trucks
  • Recognition of fleet owners that attempt to comply by reducing near-term requirements

Although CARB ventured to bend the rules for some, California’s Fifth District Court of Appeals struck down this endeavor. CARB plans appeal their decision.

Shows magnifying glass revealing clues with headline Read about recent decision on CARB lawsuit.

What does this CARB lawsuit mean for truck and bus fleet owners?

There are no extensions for anyone, regardless of your fleet size. Know the rules, and don’t expect to receive a last-minute reprieve. Ensure that your fleet remains in service without incurring fines:

Tips from the AECS CARB Experts

With more than 12 years experience in the California Central Valley, our Emissions Consultants, Bob Gaffney and Stephen Davis, recommend to be wary if you are following the exemptions listed in this lawsuit. The rules will change as of January 1, 2019, but no one knows, as of yet, how they will change.

For example, our experts anticipate low mileage exemptions to go from 5,000 miles to 1,000 miles—a big change. And you’ll need to document the mileage driven through 90-day inspections, drivers’ logs or by some other means. We also anticipate the changes to affect the agriculture & construction fleets, in particular.

Regulations will also vary according to local populations—For instance, rules in the Fresno/Central Valley will differ from rules for the Central Coast.

Be ready for major changes by following the present regulations and equipping your fleet with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) that make quick work of accurately logging hours of service (HOS) without the use of paper logs. State-of-the-art ELDs can be easily dismounted for vehicle inspections to comply with upcoming changes to the CARB rules in addition to conforming to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA).

Reach our in-house Emission Consultants for individualized guidance for CARB compliancy, along with guidance about the latest ELD technology to spare you the headache of keeping paper logs. Contact Mr. Gaffney and Mr. Davis at 559-472-7301.

Pay attention to the CARB Rules and the exemptions you are using. Expect major changes around the corner. AECS is watching for the newest regulations unfold, and we will keep you posted. Save yourself from future fines—Stay tuned for details here at our blog, on our Facebook page, and on Instagram and Twitter feeds. Feel free to phone us at 559-472-7301 for answers to your specific questions about CARB compliance.

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