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Home > Feature Articles > Logistics and Vehicle Fleet Management > Off-Road Vehicles

Solutions for CARB-Regulated On-Road and Off-Road Equipment

Southwest Smoke Test and 1 Stop Diesel Solutions provide on-road and off-road emissions compliance services to meet CARB regulations

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Profiles of:

Southwest Smoke Test
1 Stop Diesel Solutions

Everyone wants clean air. That's a given. But how we get there is where the complications enter. Who should bear the burden of upfitting, finance and maintenance of mobile equipment – both on-road and off-road – that have been identified as causing high levels of emissions that pollute our shared air?

California leads the nation in tightening On-Road trucking requirements. And with the new 2007 California Off-Road Diesel Engine Rule (details on California ARB's website), we now have testing and performance requirements for all medium and heavy-duty fleet vehicles that operate in/from California. That includes everything from forklifts to big rigs.

Southwest Smoke Test

Truckers know that annual smoke tests have been required in California since the law was implemented in 1999. What they might not realize is that this test delivers more than compliance – it delivers an annual diagnosis for what ails a truck.

Deanne Birch, founder of Southwest Smoke Test says, "The fine for not getting an annual smoke test is $300 a truck the first time. If truckers don't have a current smoke test, they can get a ticket – true. But there are more benefits to testing than avoiding a ticket. If a truck fails the smoke test, they can diagnose costly engine maintenance problems -- a smoke test can indicate whether they have engine problems with oil or fuel."

"Some trucks are not aware of the law. Some take the attitude of 'we'll fix it if we get caught'."

Most large fleets buy smoke test equipment and handle the test in-house, but small fleets take advantage of mobile services such as Southwest Smoke Test. Small fleet owners of dump trucks, wreckers, and contractors' trucks sometimes are not aware that the smoke test is both mandatory and useful.

Birch has found that companies can improve their bottom line if they value diagnostic information provided by compliance testing. "Companies can tighten their service schedule and ensure that they are running clean with their new and well-maintained trucks. And older trucks can be given upfits to bring emissions performance up to spec -- and fuel consumption down."

Southwest Smoke Test is listed with California ARB for statewide service. They're a new company, launched in January of 2007 and work in conjunction with 1 Stop Diesel, a transportation consultancy focusing on off-road equipment compliance.

Public funds are available to help with upfitting equipment. And small fleets don't have to comply until 2012 ... but our children have to breathe our air in 2007, so many conscientious contractors and operators are already getting serious about their upfit schedules. That's who the public incentive programs are aimed at. And the financial incentives for early adoption are significant! 1 Stop Diesel Solutions-Dan Fauchier

1 Stop Diesel Solutions, Inc.

1 Stop Diesel Solutions, Inc. is an integrator of services. "We're the first of our kind in California...and we were born out of the equipment owners themselves needing a response to the pending compliance legislation," says Dan Fauchier, president of 1 Stop Diesel Solutions, of San Diego.

"I've been a project manager for 35 years in construction," he explains. He served as a consultant to Engineer & General Contractors Association (EGCA) and Building Industry Association (BIA) to build an information website for their members in the San Diego area, and this intensive research led to the realization that a 1-stop solution was needed to deal with the complexities of science, regulation and business processes. 1 Stop Diesel Solutions is maintaining the website.

Website :
News and all kinds of documents, studies, etc.

"We're the Radar O'Reilly for our customers," Fauchier explains, "We've already thought of it and have it ready for you...just like Radar in M.A.S.H.! That's what we aspire to be for our clients."

The company, founded in April 2007, is a marketing and project management service for small and medium size fleet owners. "Large fleets handle this in-house with a compliance or environmental manager. But smaller companies don't have that capability, so we handle it on a project basis."

"I'm active in the Engineering and General Contractors Association in San Diego, which is an infrastructure and road builders' group. For a year and a half, the group carefully tracked the new off-road regulations by CARB... and it became apparent in the fall of '06 that the regulations are so confusing that most companies would have difficulty complying.

"This is just one more regulation -- with more coming (as well as on-road regulations). The compliance requirements are so complex that companies need some way of simplifying all this. 'Wouldn't it be nice to have a company that you could call up and just say, TAKE CARE OF IT FOR US! The name '1 Stop Deisel Solutions is our business plan!" Fauchier explains.

"We don't pretend to know all the answers or provide all the services needed. We form strategic partnerships with the best of the disciplines needed – the best scientists for industry who understand diesel engines and measure emissions and register engines, who do fleet analysis and make unbiased recommendations for kinds of actions to be taken – everything a company owner needs.

"We found one company that stood above the others: Justice & Associates in Long Beach. Justice covers the entire state. They've been around 15 years, and pioneered a lot of the science required and are rigorously neutral in terms of companies they recommend, They find the best solution for the company. Mike Buckantz, Justice & Associates president, was the industry's chief scientist dealing with the ARB for the last couple years.

All registration and fleet analysis services are provided by Justice with no additional cost for 1 Stop Diesel's project management. "We project-manage the effort. We track what goes on over the years of compliance. We gather the information on the engines, registration, and analysis -- and give it back to the client. Then we help them identify the next vendor they need – whether it is to buy new equipment, re-power old equipment with a new engine, add an aftermarket filter trap, etc. We have looked at the field of companies that provide these services and have identified who we feel are quality suppliers.

"The largest companies do this in-house with a maintenance chief and compliance officer. Most can't afford this, so we provide that service." Launched in April 2007, Fauchier's 1 Stop Diesel Solutions was created because of the new California Air Resources Board regulations for off-road equipment.

Fauchier actively works with associations in getting the word out by giving presentations to associations such as the City Maintenance Supervisors and Contractors.

"When we formed the company, we knew we'd need a pretty powerful computer system to help track, month by month, each client's plan and how they comply; whether a vendor delivered; and the next reporting date." Fauchier and his team developed a database reporting system to track and flag each stage of compliance implementation. Their team added dozens of fields to technology and adjusted how it reports, flags and tracks the data to deliver up-to-the-minute tracking.

Top Issues in Off-Road Compliance

Timing is a key issue. Companies need a fleet assessment first. They can plan now for actions to take in 2009-10 depending on their size. "Now is the time for a full fleet assessment through Justice. This identifies how they can comply most economically." Fauchier explains.

Early Emissions Compliance Gets Double Credit

"Equipment owners can start taking steps things now. If they're going to have to put on particulate trap...they could wait until it's required in year or two...but if they put it on now -- they get double credit. That could mean savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year – and that's just for 3 or 4 large off-road vehicles. Large equipment upfits can run $15,000-50,000 a piece. And they last for about 5 years."

The double-credit-benefit, Fauchier points out, means that early implementation provides the owner with savings and the state with early reduction of emissions. By cleaning air a little early, equipment operators get a savings break down the road. This incentive program spreads out the investment...but it doesn't reduce the eventual compliance requirement that all vehicles will have to comply.

Carl Moyer Fleet Modernization Program

$140 million a year in equipment incentives are available in California -- mostly through local Air Districts such as the South Coast AQMD. These Moyer funds help defray a substantial portion of costs to re-power an engine. "One of our clients with over 100 pieces received over $2 million this year alone to do that – and that was for just 10 units being re-powered!"

California Emissions Action Plan

There are some real benefits for early action. "We help clients assess and figure the most cost-effective strategy and find the right vendors to do the work."

Off-road equipment facing these compliance regulations include everything from forklifts to scrapers...all self-propelled equipment that doesn't have a license plate.

There are about 280,000 licensed contractors in California. California ARB sent a postcard notification to all of them, but most did not notice the mailings. Fauchier's 5-person team's goal is to start outreach in the San Diego and Imperial counties...and work their way across the state making all contractors and equipment owners aware of the compliance requirements...and their solution.

Three Sizes of
Off-Road Fleets are Affected:

Large Fleets 5,000 horsepower or more when all equipment is summed up. They are the first companies required to comply in 2009

Medium Fleets 2500 - 5,000 hp -- The majority of California companies are these Mom and Pop companies. They are required to comply by 2010.

Small Fleets under 2500 hp, They are to comply by 2015, and then they have to only comply with the PM (particulate matter) section of the rule.

Two Elements to the Off-Road Equipment Emissions Rule

Two separate elements are regulated in off-road equipment compliance.

Particulate Matter is diesel soot -- pieces of carbon that are controlled by filtration and clean running engines.

NOx - Oxides of Nitrogen, are the precursor for Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and a component of smog.

"NOx is produced by engines and the only way to control NOx is engine technology. Controlling NOx means getting rid of old engines and that's where highest cost comes in.

Compliant companies will be required to get rid of 8%
of their fleet annually for 5 years
and 10% after that,
till they've virtually replaced their fleet.

The technology that will eventually be needed has not been invented yet and won't be available for purchase until 2012 to 2014!" Fauchier reports with concern. "Every engine manufacturer including CAT, Cummings, John Deere, Detroit, Case, Volvo, and Kumatsu are working on it – at least we're hoping they're working on it! Cat is spending $2 billlion on this issue."

Complexity of Figuring Out Off-Road Emissions Compliance

Part of the compliance challenge is that equipment is so diverse that rules vary by age of the equipment and kind of engine. Hence, 5 "Tiers" of requirements.

Tier 4 is a federal requirement by the EPA.

Tiers 1-3 technology has been invented -- and comes down is scope of requirements by age of the equipment and size of the engine.

Tier 0 concerns pre-1996 equipment -- which makes up 60% of California's fleet. "All these vehicles will have to go away in next several year. Companies who bought '96 engines and thought would last 30 years ... bad news!"

Keeping up with regulation news is a job in itself. Two associations in San Diego collaborated on an informational website, to help their members and the public deal with this massive retrofit of the state's fleets and emission challenge.

Go To: Look under RESEARCH
In the middle of the page is an EPA chart that gives all the Tier information.

"Putting this website together was a crash coarse in air quality science and regulation!" Fauchier chuckles. "But now we're prepared to provide a system of practical solutions. We're starting in San Diego and Imperial counties, but we're getting calls from all over the state – and we'll help people all over the state – but our outreach is focusing locally. Because it's being so well received, we anticipate the opportunity to move into other areas.

Strategic Partners for Off-Road Diesel Services

1 Stop Diesel Solutions has put together a consortium of strategic partners to implement the services needed for compliance.
  • Qualcom – provides Global Tracks for off-road equipmemnt that tracks hours of usage, idling tracking, etc.
  • Verified Diesel Emission Control Systems are available through: Huss (a leading German company in PM), ESW and Emissions Technology
  • Southwest Smoke Test -- provides smoke testing for on-road trucks and equipment.
Dan Fauchier
1 Stop Diesel Solutions, Inc.

Deanna Birch
Southwest Smoke Test

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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