Commentary: New year means it’s time to report diesel truck mileage
By Cynthia Cory
Diesel trucks heavier than 14,000 GVWR that qualify for the ‘AG’ sticker must report 2012 mileage by Jan. 31.
It's hard to believe that it has been five years since the California Air Resources Board approved the truck and bus regulation that was put in place to reduce emissions from existing diesel vehicles operating in California. While the rule has undergone a number of changes, it is being implemented and there are a number of ways to comply.
One of the several provisions designed to give flexibility is based on annual reported mileage for agricultural trucks, and it is that time again.
The Jan. 31, 2013, deadline is approaching to report 2012 mileage on any "AG"-stickered diesel trucks over 14,000 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating that you previously registered with ARB in order to use the agricultural mileage provision.
The ARB provides an online user guide that walks you through the process and will help you report mileage online. The Truck Regulation Upload, Compliance, and Reporting System—known by the acronym TRUCRS—can be found by going to www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/reportinginfo.htm and clicking on "Report Online." You can also use this Internet link to print forms if you want to submit your mileage information by mail.
Who needs to report
If you are using the "AG" mileage provision, you will need to report mileage by Jan. 31. If you missed the April 29, 2011, deadline for registering your vehicle with ARB as an "AG" truck, there are a number of other compliance options. I encourage you to visit the California Farm Bureau Federation website at www.cfbf.com/issues/ truckbus.cfm for an overview of several options that work for many growers.
The CFBF website also links to the ARB website. There, you can check to see if you previously reported and need help remembering your password; you can create an account for the first time; or you can report, edit or modify any of your fleet information.
What if I missed the 2011 deadline and did not register my agricultural vehicles with ARB?
In that case, you will no longer be eligible to sign up for the agricultural mileage provision. Instead, you will need to comply with the regular truck and bus rule. The regulation applies to nearly all diesel-fueled trucks and buses with a GVWR greater than 14,000 pounds that are privately or federally owned. Other public fleets, solid waste-collection trucks and transit buses are already subject to other regulations and are not part of the truck and bus regulation.
Reporting and compliance requirements differ by GVWR
The regular truck and bus regulation is divided into different compliance requirements that apply to lighter-weight trucks and buses—GVWR of 14,000 to 26,000 pounds—and heavier-weight vehicles—GVWR over 26,001 pounds. No reporting is required for lighter vehicles, but compliance requirements begin Jan. 1, 2015, for engine model years 1995 and older. See the ARB or CFBF websites for more information.
For heavier vehicles, no mileage reporting is required for diesel truck owners who comply with the engine model year schedules and do not plan to use any credits or extensions. These model year schedules can be found on the CFBF website or the ARB website link.
Small fleets with three or fewer diesel vehicles can delay compliance for heavier vehicles until Jan. 1, 2014. But they should report all their heavier vehicles now if any of them are 1996 to 2004 model year engines.
Fleets can still report by Jan. 31, 2013, to qualify for the following flexibility options or extensions:
- Log truck phase-in option
- Low-use operation
- Manufacturer delay
- NOx-exempt area operation.
You can save yourself a lot of time upfront if you go to the ARB or CFBF websites and link to a number of fact sheets with frequently asked questions based on the different truck weight, fleet size and flexibility options.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach with the truck and bus rule; when and how you comply depends on the details of your fleet. If you do some preliminary homework, you might save yourself some frustration, because getting a quick answer from ARB is rumored to be tough.
Currently, ARB says that a high number of people are already reporting and seeking assistance online or at the ARB Diesel Hotline at 866-634-3735. The ARB recommends that if you experience any difficulty reporting online, to log back in the following day to see if the issue has been resolved.
Remember, you have until Jan. 31 to ensure that your fleet list shows a "completed" reporting status for each vehicle. Just do not wait too long, as ARB computer and phone lines will only get busier as the January deadline approaches.
(Cynthia Cory is director of environmental affairs for the California Farm Bureau Federation. She may be reached at email@example.com.)
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.