Friday, August 4, 2017

Bringing the Heat!

The summer of 2017 so far has been chalk full of exciting developments in the intriguing world of tansportation and air quality here in California. Just a quick once over below, in case ya missed it... 

Surprise! CARB has again thrown down the regulatory gauntlet, this time on warranty enhancements for new truck sales in California, ZEV Sales requirements for HD Truck OEMs, cold storage limits for TRUs, enhanced maintenance procedures for existing equipment and lower opacity levels for the entire fleet over 10,000pds GVWR. 

CARB has also begun the dialogue on controlling emissions from freight facilities. Most people familiar with the concept call it what it is:  "Facility Caps” where a private business may require users of said facility to install specific levels of control  technology because the state says they need to stay under a “cap”. 

This all comes along with a brand spankin’ new CARB enforcement policy that after many discussions with stakeholders across many different industry sectors, will be adopted this September, probably with little fanfare, despite, or maybe because of, all the hard work by CARB enforcement staff.

While the cold storage rule is “on ice” during the current public outreach phase, a very near future rulemaking will set the stage for control measures that will phase in the use of zero emissions TRU technologies starting sometime in 2020. It is no secret that the goal for the state transportation sector is zero emissions with near zero emissions everywhere else.

Of course, in that vein and not to be outdone, the proverbial mother of all plans, the Sustainable Freight Action Plan under the direction of no less than 7 state agencies (that we know of) is gaining momentum on its way to fulfilling the Governor’s goal of reducing GHG 40% below 1990 levels and reducing petroleum use up to half from current levels by 2030.  


Part of the plan seeks to implement freight focused pilot projects and so far they have peeked through the curtain and pronounced their presence with the release of 3 separate work plans related to 3 separate pilot projects focused on California’s primary freight corridors.

The concepts attempt to integrate advanced technologies, alternative fuels, freight and fuel infrastructure and local economic development opportunities. 
Of particular interest are the concepts surrounding advanced truck corridors that are meant to be coupled with a statewide freight information platform giving drivers insight into traffic patterns and congestion in real time.

Dynamic Truck Parking is also of note, similar to parking sensors at the local shopping mall, notifications would be provided regarding available parking at state run rest stops. Although the most interesting plan in this cabinet of curiosities (not merely for the potential acronym that may accompany this particular plan in the future) is the pilot project seeking to use dairy bio-methane for freight vehicles; pretty self-explanatory.  
The other parts of the Action Plan are much more direct in their attempt to reduce emissions from the freight sector. The biggest push will be felt in the local and last mile delivery sectors; CARB is taking the reins and in theory will first force the OEMs to sell a certain percentage of ZEV’s compared to their total sales in CA. They will then roll over into the end user; drayage, PnD, local, pretty much any sector that goes home to the same terminal every night will more than likely be under the electric eye before they know it. 

Speaking of electric eyes, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have also recently released the latest version (3.2?) of their Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), where their collective electric eye is set on an entirely zero emission fleet starting in 2035. 

In the interim, all new trucks entering LA/LB drayage service in “early 2018” will need to have a vehicle equipped with an engine meeting the USEPA 2014 engine standard. Then, in 2023, all new trucks entering port service for the first time will need to meet the ultra-low NOx standard, with all other non ultra-low NOx engines being charged a “rate” that will be billed to the cargo owner or shipper. 

The only snag in this otherwise genius plan is that legally, the ports of LA/LB cannot mandate a particular level of NOx control on engines in port service until the EPA certifies a national or California only engine to that standard of control  (More Info), the 2035 ZEV date is a different story all together. 

The efforts of our air regulators are always evolving and continually changing, or at least, it feels like they are. More often than not the standards have not changed, it is interpretation or implementation of the standards, which leave many fleet operators with little confidence in a system that only seems to take and rarely has anything to give. 

Measures to reduce harmful pollutants in California will not subside, the Golden State has a history of getting its way when it comes to environmental protection and the Trump administration will be hard pressed to slow it down. Get used to it my fellow Californians; at least the weather is nice!

Stay Tuned!

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