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Responding to new standards includes replacement, retrofits

[caption id="attachment_14981" align="alignright" width="230" caption="California Air Resources Board air pollution specialist Boons Baythavong demonstrates regulation-solutions software to Brian Gully (sitting to his right) of Santa Rosa Junior College’s Diesel Program and Tom Kinsey (standing) of Kinsey Trucking."][/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- As emissions rules that require the gradual retirement of diesel-powered over-the-road vehicles are set to take effect in the next two years, a state air-quality regulator visited the North Bay recently to offer solutions for compliance.

Boons Baythavong, an air pollution specialist with the California Air Resources Board, attended an open house Aug. 22 at truck dealer Opperman & Son’s Santa Rosa location. Attending were about 40 representatives from local trucking companies, independent truckers and others involved in the transportation industry.

In July 2007, the board adopted emissions rules for off-road diesel vehicles and last year started implementing aspects such as five-minute engine idling and a ban on pre-1996 vehicles.

In December 2008, the board embraced regulations for large on-road vehicles. On Jan. 1, 2011, regulations for trucks manufactured before 2004 start taking effect, with the goal of phasing out pre-2010 engines by 2023.

Rules for vehicle emissions at ports kick in at the beginning of 2010.

Many local companies have either started replacing equipment, retrofitting equipment or retiring portions of their fleet to meet the new emissions standards.

To help understand a truck fleet’s impact, Mr. Baythavong introduced attendees of the open house to a software model that gave multiple solutions to achieve emissions compliance. The free software is available on the board’s Web site.

Solutions provided included equipment demonstrations on products such as the Swaploader, which helps a fleet reduce equipment numbers while maintaining fleet capabilities. It allows one truck to perform the functions of multiple trucks.

Opperman & Son has focused its efforts on helping local truckers with creative solutions. That includes helping the customer understand the regulations, providing information on state-funded options for replacement or retrofit options, offering products and equipment such as the Swaploader and state-compliant equipment and recycling noncompliant equipment through its state-certified facility.

Another option Mr. Baythavong presented was the state’s Voucher Incentive Program, which assists smaller fleets, or those with three or fewer vehicles, with replacing trucks. It is designed to be a simplified version of the Carl Moyer Fleet Modernization Program.

The program provides up to $35,000 in truck replacement incentives if completed by the end of 2009, or until the $14 million allocated to the program runs out. Next year the maximum incentive drops to $25,000.

Opperman & Son will host CARB and Bay Area Air Quality Management District representatives at its Healdsburg location Oct. 8. The event will showcase alternatives available to meet state emission regulations.

For information on the diesel regulations and solutions, visit www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/mobile.htm or call 866-634-3735 (6DIESEL). Details on VIP money is posted at www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/moyer/voucher/voucher.htm.

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Zach Baurer is general manager of Opperman & Son, an independent dealer of heavy- and medium-duty used trucks, trailers, parts and service based in Healdsburg. For more information, call 707-433-4421 or visit www.oppermansales.com.