New rule for long haul- truckers expected to lower costs, better fuel efficiency
SACRAMENTO – Long-haul truckers in California are already on the road to saving money and reducing air pollution, thanks to a new regulation designed to improve fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Adopted by the Air Resources Board in December 2008 and effective at the start of this month, the aim of the regulation is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tractor-trailer rigs operating within the state.
The measure applies to 53-foot or longer box-type trailers as well as the heavy-duty trucks (also called tractors) that pull them on California highways. It requires rig owners to use low-rolling resistance tires and approved aerodynamic devices on their affected vehicles, either by replacing or retrofitting the vehicles according to a staggered schedule.
"This important measure is ultimately going to improve our air quality, save hard-earned dollars and promote energy independence by helping to decrease our consumption of fuel," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "It makes good environmental and economic sense for business owners and for those of us who live and breathe in California."
Between 2010 and 2020, ARB estimates that this regulation will save about $8.6 billion, as well as 750 million gallons of diesel fuel in California and 5 billion gallons of diesel fuel across the nation. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalents by 2020, statewide.
The regulation is one of the nine "early actions" adopted by the ARB to help implement the goals of AB 32, the state's pioneering climate change law signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006. It also complements existing ARB programs addressing emission reductions from a wide variety of diesel engines.
The rule incorporates elements of the U.S. EPA's successful, voluntary SmartWay Transport Partnership program, which identifies products and services that reduce transportation-related emissions. SmartWay partners include government, business and consumers who strive to protect the environment and lower fuel use.
All owners, regardless of where their vehicles are registered, must comply with the regulation when they operate these vehicles in California. The average estimated cost increase for the purchase of a SmartWay certified tractor equipped with approved aerodynamic devices and low-rolling resistance tires is $2,100 per tractor. The average estimated cost of trailer compliance for the purchase and installation of approved aerodynamic devices and low-rolling resistance tires is approximately $2,900 per trailer.
Owners can expect a compliant tractor-trailer pairing to realize a seven to 10 percent fuel economy gain, depending on the types of tractor and trailer improvements. Assuming this range, the fuel savings would be approximately $4,000 to $5,700 per year for a tractor-trailer combination.
According to the regulation, by Jan. 1 all 2011 model year and newer sleeper cab trucks that pull 53-foot or longer dry van and refrigerated van trailers must be SmartWay certified, which includes installing low-rolling resistance tires. Model year 2011 and newer day cabs are only required to use SmartWay verified low-rolling resistance tires.
All pre- 2011 model year tractors that pull affected trailers must use SmartWay verified low-rolling resistance tires starting January 1, 2012.
In addition, 53-foot and longer box trailers that are 2011 model year and newer must be either SmartWay certified or retrofitted with some combination of SmartWay verified technologies such as rear fairings, trailer side skirts, trailer front gap fairings and other devices. They must also be fitted with low-rolling resistance tires.
Retrofitting of pre-2011 trailers can be phased in over an extended period.