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New CARB Regs FAQs

As of January, new regulations apply to businesses in California with four or more industrial vehicles having gasoline- or propane-fueled, spark-ignition engines. The new emissions standards apply to lift trucks as well as industrial sweepers and scrubbers.

Mark Gates, product support manager at Toyota Material Handling, a material handling equipment dealer in northern California, has assembled and answered the following frequently-asked questions from his material handling customers.

What is the regulation?

As of January 2009, new standards became effective as part of a series of government commitments to reduce pollutant emissions and help meet health-based, air-quality standards. This regulation pertains to off-road, large spark-ignition (LSI) equipment greater than 25 horsepower, including farm, construction and industrial equipment powered by gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and other alternate fuels.

Typical applications using LSI engines include lift trucks, floor sweepers and scrubbers, specialty vehicles, airport service vehicles, large turf-care equipment, portable generators and a wide array of other agricultural, construction and general industrial equipment.

Does it apply to me?

The regulations apply to any business in California with four or more gasoline- or propane-fueled spark-ignition engines, including lift trucks and industrial floor-cleaning equipment (sweepers and scrubbers). If you have three or fewer forklifts and/or three or fewer pieces of non-forklift LSI equipment, then you are exempt from the provisions of the LSI fleet regulation. Other exemptions include limited-use LSI equipment (less than 250 hours of use per year) and certain agricultural operations.

What can I do to comply, and how much is it going to cost me?

If the fleet average doesn't meet the required emission level, equipment must be retired, replaced, or if available, a certified retrofit kit installed. Many factors have to be considered before a plan can be implemented, such as the age and condition of the uncontrolled equipment. While a retrofit kit will significantly reduce the emission level, at a cost of $3,000 or more, it may not make sense to do this on a lift truck that is 10 years old and has 12,000 hours on it.

Is there a penalty for noncompliance?

Companies with equipment found to be out of compliance can be fined a maximum of $500 per machine, per day, retroactive to Jan. 1 2009, when the first fleet average standards became effective. This can be costly considering businesses with as few as four pieces of equipment are required to comply. Compliance is not calculated based on individual pieces of equipment; it is determined by the average results of the fleet.

Editor's Note: MHM recently explored how the new CARB regulations could affect companies operating lift truck fleets outside of California. See “West Coast Influence,” p.6, February 2009.

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