CARB Evaluating Changes to Alternative Fuel Vehicle Certification Rules

On Tuesday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) held a public workshop to discuss proposed amendments to CARB’s alternative fuel conversion certification procedures. CARB has indicated that it is looking at changes to its certification procedures for both new (unregistered) and in-use (already registered) vehicles and engines. A power point presentation given at the meeting (link provided below) indicates that CARB is looking at aligning its procedures more closely with the US EPA’s aftermarket certification rules. Modification of California’s rules is important since California is one of the largest markets for alternative fuel vehicles in the country and its regulations are followed by a number of other states. Current regulations make it extremely difficult and impractical to certify bi-fuel natural gas vehicles (NGVs).

CARB has not proposed formal changes to its rules and has not released draft language. However, the presentation highlights that a number of important regulatory changes are under consideration, such as

• allowing “new” certifications to be used on in-use or used vehicles;
• extending the timeframe for modifying “new” vehicles under Executive Orders;
• harmonizing test fuel specifications with EPA rules;
• waiving exhaust emissions testing for gasoline on dual-fuel vehicles;
• modifying deterioration factors procedures; and
• changing to on-board diagnostics (OBD) verification, among other things.

CARB staff has requested input on these and other proposed changes. Persons interested in submitting comments are urged to do so by mid-February. The staff indicated that it may hold another meeting on this issue in April, and possibly could propose changes to its Board by late summer. For a copy of the CARB presentation given at January 22 meeting, visit http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onroad/cert/ldctp/1-22-2013_alt%20fuels_wkshp_v10.pdf

  • Carlos Zavala

    Considering how California refineries produce (nearly?) all gasoline fuel for California drivers and they have been closing refineries and that they “faked” responsibility for various accidents, then raised gasoline prices to California consumers, it is a market imperative that the state of California relax regulations on the vehicles allowed to convert to natural gas, particularly if the consumer decides to fully convert to natural gas.

    Natural gas is cleaner than gasoline in that its constituents are rather pure – methane, perhaps with some trace sulfur to impart smell. It allows engines to run longer with less maintenance.

    A lot of California consumers in these troubled economic times would do well to convert older vehicles (with little restriction) to CNG saving the local environment while putting away more savings to pay for our high mortgages, property taxes and expensive colleges.

    There are emerging technologies that may soon recycle CO2 out of the atmosphere using renewable solar energy to manufacture methane. If you question this, contact USC, Dr. George A Olah who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1994 for the reversible methanol fuel cell. Idaho National Labs is developing an 80% efficient Nano-Antennae Solar Panel, increasing the capacity to collect energy by 500% over traditional solar panels. Dr. David Keith is researching means to separate & concentrate CO2 out of the atmosphere.

    We have all the pieces to begin a transition to a fully renewable future and build an economy that we can export to the rest of the world. Recycling CO2 into fuel is a great solution to human acceleration of global warming.

    Please do whatever it takes to streamline the CNG conversion process and certify local mechanics and shops in California.

    Thank you,