Truck emissions inspectors scour Fresno area

California Air Resources Board inspectors check a truck engine for compliance with the Truck and Bus regulationCalifornia Air Resources Board inspectors check a truck engine for compliance with the Truck and Bus regulationTeams of inspectors from the California Air Resources Board were in Fresno today checking big rig engines for compliance with the agency's Truck and Bus regulation.

The regulation requires all trucks in the state to have 2010 model year engines or the equivalent particulate matter (PM) retrofits by 2023.

Beginning January 1, heavy duty diesel trucks with engines dating from 2000 to 2004 are required to have soot filters, making them 2010 equivalent for emissions.

Working with the California Highway Patrol, teams of CARB inspectors set up five locations in the Fresno area to stop passing truck drivers for a check of their equipment. Inspectors checked for emissions control labels, exhaust smoke and other signs of excess emissions.

CARB's Public Information Officer Karen Caesar said the average person may not always notice, but 2010 or equivalent engines reduce emissions by 85 percent when compared to 2000 engines.

"Diesel engines last forever and when you have truck 30 to 40 years on the road, it's not good for the air," she said.

Trucks originating outside of California are also subject to the regulation, she added, so the agency is working hard to make sure truck operators everywhere are informed about the requirements and get into compliance.

"These regulations are important and compliance is not optional," she said. "We have to let these folks know and give them the information."

The latest checkpoints were one of dozens that go on throughout the year in California but the first this year for the Fresno area.

Last August, similar teams were set up at 40 different weigh stations, distribution centers and other locations throughout the state to inspect some 4,000 trucks as part of the "Gear Up For Clean Trucks" campaign.

From that effort, CARB noted a rate of 80 percent of trucks compliant with the regulation either through diesel soot filters or new and upgraded engines.

When truck operators aren't in compliance, penalties start at a minimum of $1,000 per violation per month and will increase significantly over time. Non-compliance can also result in a registration block by the Department of Motor Vehicles on the truck or having the vehicle impounded by the CHP until it in compliance.

Small fleets with three or fewer trucks can delay compliance until January 2014 by reporting their truck information to CARB.

More information on how to comply with the Truck and Bus regulation as well as incentive money is available at ARB's TruckStop website at arb.ca.gov/truckstop or by calling 1-866-6-DIESEL (634-3735).

California is home to 200,000 trucking business and 450,000 registered heavy duty diesel trucks.

Trucks and buses account for about 32 percent of the statewide emissions of NOx and about 40 percent of diesel PM emissions.