US EPA Approves Waiver for CARB to Enforce Tractor-Trailer GHG Rule

Requirements on trucks pulling 53 foot van styled trailers – enforcement could begin soon

The U.S. EPA will be publishing in the Federal Register its approval for the California Air Resources Board to begin enforcement of its Heavy-Duty Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Regulation or more commonly called the SmartWay rule.

The SmartWay rule will mostly affect long-haul freight hauling operations and requires all model year 2011 or newer sleeper equipped tractors to be SmartWay certified in order to legally pull a 53 foot van style trailer on California highways. All older tractors must be equipped with Low Rolling Resistant tires. Trailers likewise must be either SmartWay certified or retrofitted with SmartWay verified aerodynamic technologies AND Low Rolling Resistant tires.

Compliance options vary depending on fleet size. “Small-fleet” is defined as having 20 or fewer trailers. There are exemptions to the rule that California based motor carriers can utilize to avoid compliance such as the Short-haul and Local-Haul Exemptions. Both exemptions require registration with CARB. The following chart shows requirements which must be met in order to legally operate in California.


It is important to note that phased-in compliance options for both small and large fleets are no longer available. Those options required registration with CARB in 2012.


Previous discussion with CARB staff about how soon they’d begin enforcement after the waiver from EPA was issued indicated CARB intended to begin immediate enforcement. While CARB did not possess the necessary waiver to begin enforcement since the rule went into effect, CARB’s position was that the rule requirements already mandated fleet owners begin to bring their fleets into compliance and that there would be no “grace” period for fleet owners.

To read EPA’s Notice of Decision click (here)