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Time Running Out for CARB Compliance on Trailer Aerodynamics

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Truckers who cross into California without SmartWay verified aerodynamic devices that improve fuel economy will encounter heavy fines for truckers starting Jan. 1, 2013. These devices such as side skirts or boat tail fairings improve fuel economy 4% to 5% on their 53-foot or longer box and refrigerated trailers. If pulled over for non-compliance, the owner of the tractor trailer can be cited $1000 per day. In addition, the driver of the tractor-trailer can also be fined $1000 per day. Fines can increase to $10,000 per day for repeat offenders. Some suppliers of aerodynamic devices have put together mobile installation teams to help outfit trailers before the deadline. Low rolling resistance tires can improve fuel efficiency as well, but SmartWay verified tires cannot be used to help meet the 4% to 5% requirement. Nevertheless they will add an additional 3% improvement for both the tractor and trailer. SmartWay verified tires won’t be required on 2010 and older box trailers until January 2017. Other things to be aware of:

  • CARB will allow a one-time per fleet per year (one tractor) exemption into the state for a trucking company or owner-operator, but the request must be to the CARB via an email or written request and approved before entering California.
  • In addition, if registered with CARB, local haul 53-foot trailers are exempt from the aerodynamic requirements of the rule, but they must not go beyond 100 miles from their home base. Empty trailers are also exempt. Short haul tractors and the trailers they pull are exempt, but the tractor must be entered into CARB’s database and tractor mileage must be 50,000 miles or lower per year.

For complete information on rules go to:

CARB website: 

CARB Truck Stop on the website: 

CARB Greenhouse Gas Tractor-Trailer Program:


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