Stay Current on these Regulations and Fuel Standards

TRUCKING INDUSTRY PREPARES FOR UPCOMING REGULATORY ACTION

 The trucking industry is constantly adjusting to and preparing for new regulations, and the coming years are no different. Two of the primary regulatory issues the trucking industry is monitoring are requirements to use speed limiters and electronic logging devices. The Department of Transportation is also considering altering regulations related to driver health.

                Speed Limiters: Nearly every Class 8 heavy-duty truck that rolls off the production line has a speed limiter built in, but use of the devices is voluntary. However, a proposed federal rule being produced via a joint rulemaking by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would require carriers to use speed limiters. The rule was slated to be released in the Federal Register in August but was delayed. As of press time it was undergoing an extended review by the Office of Management and Budget. Once the rule is published, the public will be able to comment on it for 60 days. Once the public comment period closes, FMCSA and NHTSA will create a final rule, which will likely go into effect two years after it is published.

                Carriers that currently use speed limiters have said the devices increase fuel efficiency, improve safety and protect cargo within the trailer by minimizing the need for hard breaking events. However, some groups, including the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, oppose the rule. OOIDA said the devices would “decrease overall highway safety because the interaction between large trucks and passenger vehicles would increase.” The group also said an OOIDA Foundation survey found that 82 percent of the drivers responding said they would rather work for a company that does not have speed limiters.

                Electronic Logging Devices: A final rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices is expected to be published on October 30, and the rule would begin being enforced on October 30, 2017. Currently use of the devices is voluntary, but a growing number of carriers are using the devices, which they have said can help with CSA compliance, eliminate paper records to reduce driver admin time, provide more visibility into safe-driving behaviors and increase efficiency. The DOT reported that there are more than 350,000 ELDs in use today. DOT has also said most drivers are supportive of the devices.

                Diabetes Standards: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering modifications to its qualifications to allow insulin-treated diabetics to operate commercial motor vehicles. Currently, insulin-treated diabetics are required to request an exemption from the medical requirements in order to drive a commercial vehicle, a process that requires additional evaluation by several medical specialists and must be updated at least every two years. FMCSA has issued over 1,000 such exemptions in the past year and a half. Under the proposed rule, drivers with insulin treated diabetes would no longer require an exemption, but would have to be examined annually by a medical examiner listed in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The examiner would have to receive confirmation from the driver’s treating clinician that the driver has had an annual exam and that the diabetes is “stable and well-controlled,” FMCSA said.

               

KEY ISSUES IN FUEL

Fuel sales are at the core of every truckstop and travel plaza operation. They can also be heavily influenced by outside factors, including government regulations, the trucking industry’s adoption of new fueling technology and new engine designs by equipment manufacturers. The Environmental Protection Agency has recently released two standards that will likely shape fueling operations at truckstops and travel plazas going forward.

 

NEW STANDARDS CALL FOR IMPROVED FUEL ECONOMY

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation have released new regulations that would increase fuel efficiency in heavy-duty trucks to nine miles per gallon, up from the current average of about six miles per gallon. The rule would apply to trucks built from 2019 to 2027, and it could affect the diesel throughput at truckstops and travel plazas. EPA estimates it would save carriers about $170 billion in fuel costs and about 1.8 billion barrels of oil. “Once upon a time, to be pro-environment you had to be anti-bigvehicles,” said DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This rule will change that. In fact, these efficiency standards are good for the environment and the economy.”  Some truck manufacturers have said they can adapt to the new standards, but others have said it would be a challenge and require expensive new technology. EPA estimates that the improvements would cost about $10,000 to $12,000 per vehicle for Class 8 trucks, but said the costs could be recouped by fuel savings in less than two years. The proposed rule is open for public comment. EPA is expected to release a final version next year.

 

EPA LOWERS RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD OBLIGATIONS

The Environmental Protection Agency has lowered the Renewable Fuel Standard volume requirements for 2014 through 2016 from those set by Congress “due to constraints in the fuel market to accommodate increasing volumes of ethanol, along with limits on the availability of non-ethanol renewable fuels,” EPA said. The EPA also issued 2017 requirements for the biomass-based diesel category. The RFS covers standards for cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels. For 2015, total proposed RFS requirements are now 16.3 billion gallons compared to the 20.5 billion gallons originally required by Congress. For 2016, the EPA lowered the proposed RFS requirements to 17.4 billion gallons from 22.25 billion gallons. In light of the ethanol “blendwall,” which is the point at which adding the required volume of ethanol to gasoline supply would result in ethanol blends that exceed what the market can consume, EPA is relying on substantial amounts of biomass-based diesel consumption in order to satisfy even these scaled-back obligations.

 

EPA Issues Underground Storage Tank Requirements

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued final underground storage tank system testing and inspection regulations, marking the first significant revision to the regulations since they were issued in 1988. The rules cover several areas, including tanks’ compatibility with alternative fuel blends and emergency generators. Although the new rules impose enhanced obligations on tank owners, they are superior to the initial, proposed rules that EPA had released several years ago, including more limited burdens associated with monitoring interstitial areas and limiting the frequency of inspections. NATSO has drafted a 16-page memorandum outlining the key components of the lengthy and complex regulation (available at http:// http://ift.tt/2iRRYH8 view/157). Highlights of the rule include:

 

  • Secondary Containment—New and replaced tanks and piping must be secondarily contained with interstitial monitoring systems, and new dispenser systems must be equipped with under dispenser containment. Owners and operators must replace an entire piping run when 50 percent or more of piping is removed and other piping is installed. These requirements only apply to new and replaced systems – there are no retrofit requirements.
  • Operation and Maintenance Inspections—The final rule requires periodic walkthrough inspections to prevent and quickly detect releases, as well as additional requirements for periodic spill, overfill and secondary containment monitoring.
  • Spill Containment Testing— Under the final rule spill prevention equipment must be tested every three years to ensure that it will contain small drips and spills when the delivery transfer hose is disconnected from the fill pipe.
  • Overfill Prevention—Flow restrictors, or ball float valves, in vent lines have been eliminated as an option for satisfying the over- fill prevention requirements (a) for newly installed UST systems and (b) when flow restrictors in vent lines are replaced. Ball float valves may be used in USTs that have already been installed before the final rule takes effect.
  • Secondary Containment Testing—The final rule requires double-walled containment sumps to be periodically monitored (generally every 30 days), or else undergo periodic testing. It further requires testing of containment sumps used for interstitial monitoring of piping at least once every three years.
  • Release Detection Equipment— The final rule is designed to standardize the operation and maintenance requirements for release detection equipment by requiring owners and operators to follow a set of minimum operation and maintenance criteria for electronic and mechanical-based release detection equipment.
  • Operator Training—The final rule requires owners and operators to designate at least one individual for each of three “classes” of operators, and such operators must be trained in certain areas within three years of the final rule taking effect.
  • Tank Compatibility with Alternative Fuels—The final rule generally allows tank owners to demonstrate equipment compatibility with alternative fuels (e.g., blends containing greater than 10 percent ethanol or 20 percent biodiesel) (a) through a listing by a nationally recognized association (such as Underwriters Laboratories); or (b) based upon written equipment manufacturer approval.
  • Repairs—The final rule contains a number of requirements pertaining to repairs of leaking UST systems.
  • Emergency Generator USTs— The final rule includes requirements for release detection for UST systems that are storing fuel solely for use by emergency power generators.
  • New Technologies—The final rule adds steel tanks that are clad or jacketed with a non-corrodible material to the list of specific new tank design and construction options for UST systems.
  • Statistical Inventory Reconciliation—The final rule adds statistical inventory reconciliation as a permissible release detection method and provides performance criteria for its use.

 

 



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