California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a budget that would permanently fund California Air Resources Board's Moyer diesel grant program with $61 million annually. If passed, the proposal would afford opportunities for commercial vehicle operators to upgrade older trucks via state subsidies.
“When truck owners bring their vehicles in for rebuilding, the Moyer fund [would]subsidize the added cost of bringing that engine up to cleaner specs,” said Jerry Martin, spokesperson for the California Air Resources Board (CARB). “Ultimately the driver comes out with a newer, better engine.”
A steady flow of income for the program would flow from California residents owning cars or light trucks that are six years old or newer. These residents, who are exempt from the state's bi-annual emissions and maintenance inspections, would pay an annual smog-abatement fee of $12, double the current $6 fee.
The cash infusion into the fund would revive the program, which was put out of commission in 2001 after the one-time $45 million allotment was spent.
The Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) has issued a statement of support for the proposal, stating that “upgrading these older, durable engines with clean diesel technologies is a win-win approach — the state gets cleaner air and the operator gets better engine performance.”
Alan Schaeffer, DTF executive director, told FLEET OWNER that he believes there is enough support behind that section of the budget proposal for it to pass, despite some opposition from environmental constituents. “One of the comments we've seen from some environmental groups is that ‘the polluters should pay,’” Schaeffer said. “That statement is off the mark. The benefits are going to accrue to all residents in the state as they enjoy cleaner air,” Schaeffer said.
The Carl Moyer program is credited with retrofitting almost 5,000 engines statewide. Diesel-engine retrofits in commercial trucks have received a modest slice of the pie.
According to the Carl Moyer Program Annual Status Report, released in March 2002, of the 4,356 engines retrofitted, 32 were heavy-duty linehaul vehicles and 62 diesel refuse haulers. In addition, 511 refuse haulers replaced diesels with engines running on propane.