CARB Passes ‘California Phase 2’ Regulations

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) conducted a public hearing on Feb. 8, 2018 to consider approving adoption of the proposed California greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles (Phase 2) and the proposed amendments to CARB’s existing Tractor-Trailer GHG Regulation. CARB approved the standards.

The new regulations are collectively referred to as the “California Phase 2 regulations.

The California Phase 2 regulations establishes new GHG emission standards for trailers, amend existing regulations to establish more stringent GHG standards applicable to tractors, vocational vehicles, PUVs, and medium-and heavy-duty engines, and amend requirements for glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits.

The regulations and amendments fundamentally align California’s GHG emission standards and test procedures with those of the federal Phase 2 GHG regulations in structure, timing, and stringency. Under the Phase 1 standards, CARB certification staff issue an EO for any engine or vehicle family that has demonstrated compliance with the federal Phase 1 GHG regulation and has been issued a federal Certificate of Conformity by U.S. EPA (i.e., it is “deemed to comply”). The California Phase 2 regulations would not include “deemed-to-comply” provisions. Manufacturers would be required to submit information directly to CARB to certify their engines, vehicles, and trailers with the California Phase 2 GHG program and CARB would independently review the required certification documents before CARB issues an Executive Order.

There are some differences between the California Phase 2 regulations and the federal Phase 2 regulations. Specifically, the California Phase 2 proposal:

  • Includes language strengthening the statement that manufacturers provide with their certification submittals. Manufacturers will need to unconditionally certify that the information submitted in certification packages is accurate, and that it describes engines and vehicles as built;
  • Requires tractors and vocational vehicles to have specific emission control identifiers included on their emission control labels for technologies that can be visually inspected;
  • Requires the engine family to be included in the vehicle certification documentation;
  • Establishes a credit adjustment protocol that would incentivize the use of low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, incentivize the sale of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) to meet a minimum all-electric range and ensure no increases oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emission, and incentivize transit buses manufacturers not to certify to the less stringent custom chassis standards;
  • Continues to include ethane in the calculation of non-methane hydrocarbon emissions;
  • Begins trailer standards two years later than required by the federal Phase 2 regulation to accommodate the timing of California’s rulemaking process;
  • Continues to utilize California’s current anti-tampering provisions, which are more stringent than the federal provisions, for Phase 2 certified engines and vehicles; and
  • Include CARB’s right of entry to any premises owned, operated, used, leased, or rented by a person to repair or service any heavy-duty engine or heavy-duty vehicle for which California emissions standards have been adopted and which is situated on the premises for the purpose of emission-related maintenance, repair or service. The right-to-entry includes, but is not limited to, verification of manufacturer’s warranty reporting and claims through inspecting repair records, records that relate to vehicular or engine emissions, vehicles, and engines, and may require the on-premises securing of samples of emissions from a vehicle or engine at any repair

The amendments to the Tractor-Trailer GHG Regulation provide trailer fleet owners the option of complying with the Tractor-Trailer GHG Regulation through the purchase of a Phase 2 certified trailer, or the installation of Phase 2 aerodynamic technologies and low-rolling resistance tires that are components of Phase 2 certified trailer configurations. This proposed change does not weaken or strengthen the existing requirements of the Tractor-Trailer GHG Regulation, but solely provides another pathway to compliance.

CARB may also consider other changes during the rulemaking process. The trailer-related regulations take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Previously, the Environmental Protection Agency and NHTSA approved Federal Phase 2 standards that included trailer standards starting with 2018 model years. However, the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association challenged the standards in court, contending that the EPA lacked authority over trailers. CARB attempted to intervene in the lawsuit pursuant to their interests of representing California. The U.S. Court of Appeals actions stayed the trailer requirements. The federal stay is current reviewed every 90 days.

Despite the federal stay, the unanimous passage of the California Phase 2 GHG standards and proposed amendments to the current Tractor-Trailer GHG regulation opens the door for other states to follow with rules of their own.

The Phase 2 rule adds about $12,000 to the cost of a tractor and more than $1,000 to the cost of a trailer.

CARB stated at its Feb. 8, 2018 meeting that if the EPA rescinds trailer requirements included in the proposed Greenhouse Gas Phase 2 regulations, it will propose further modifications to the California rule in 2019. The CARB regulations impact owners of trailers that travel in California (regardless of State of origin).

The NTDA plans to include a presentation regarding the new CARB ruling at its Annual Convention, Oct. 3-5, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO.