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It’s TRU: California truck reefer rule draws near

May 13, 2009
Even though the July 17 deadline for the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Transport Refrigeration Units (TRU) regulation is rapidly approaching, whether everyone will be ready for implementation remains unknown

Even though the July 17 deadline for the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Transport Refrigeration Units (TRU) regulation is rapidly approaching, whether everyone will be ready for implementation remains unknown. Having receiving a federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waiver in January allowing it to regulate refrigeration units, CARB has pushed forward with the July start date.

"My opinion is even if it doesn't happen with California right now, it's going to happen," Frank Molodecki, gm of Diversified Transfer & Storage told Fleet Owner. "You might as well be prepared." Billings, MT- based Diversified runs between 10 and 12 refrigerated trucks a week into California and has been preparing for the TRU regulations for some time. "I've dedicated myself the past four years to being aware of what's coming down the pike so we can be prepared," Molodecki said, "because if we're prepared and someone else isn't, guess who's going to be hauling the freight?"

There have been rumblings that CARB may not fully enforce the legislation immediately. The American Trucking Assn. (ATA) is one group trying to delay implementation, having filed suit along with the Truckload Carriers Assn. The case is currently in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

"The reason we're challenging this is that we're not so much worried about the effect on California, but we're worried about the rest of the country," ATA's Clayton Boyce, vp of public affairs, told Fleet Owner. "If this becomes a regulation, California will have (set) a de facto national regulation." Boyce said ATA doesn't expect a hearing on the matter to take place until later this year.

The TRU regulation states that any model-year 2001 or older refrigeration unit must be retrofitted or replaced with emissions control technology to reduce emissions of particulate matter (PM). According to CARB, approximately 40,000 trailers, both from in-state and out-of-state carriers, will be affected.

Any carrier operating a refrigerated trailing within the borders of the Golden State, regardless of home base, must comply with the regulation. As of Dec. 31, 2009, model-year 2002 and older trailers must comply as CARB phases in the regulation until 2020 when all trailers in the state must be in compliance.

"We've seen our customers meet this regulation in several ways," said Chuck Cole, Utility Trailer's director of training. "This includes installing a CARB-approved diesel particulate filter (DPF), a CARB-approved rebuilt engine, a CARB-approved new engine or a new 2008 model-year refrigeration unit."

One of the keys to this regulation is that out-of-state carriers must also comply. "It really has not been communicated well," Diversified's Molodecki said. "There is a lot of miscommunication, a lot of misinformation out there."

About the Author

Brian Straight | Managing Editor

Brian joined Fleet Owner in May 2008 after spending nearly 14 years as sports editor and then managing editor of several daily newspapers.  He and his staff  won more than two dozen major writing and editing awards. Responsible for editing, editorial production functions and deadlines.

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