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MECA: Diesel retrofit sales in California lower than projected

7 August 2013

Sales of diesel particulate filters (DPF) for in-use, on-road, heavy-duty diesel vehicles operating in California remain lower than projected, according to the results of a survey by the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA). The total number of verified DPFs sold by MECA member companies for in-use, on-road, heavy-duty diesel vehicles operating in California in the first half of 2013 was 3,508. Under ARB’s truck and bus regulation, the agency projected that approximately 59,500 DPFs would need to be installed in 2013 to meet the January 1, 2014 compliance deadline.

These latest numbers follow sales of 6,261 DPFs for in-use, on-road, heavy-duty diesel vehicles in California in 2012, which was less than the 8,400 projected by ARB for last year. Overall, ARB has projected that approximately 76,500 DPFs would need to be installed from 2011 to 2015 to meet the requirements of the truck and bus regulation.

The upcoming January 1, 2014 compliance deadline applies to heavy-weight vehicles (GVWR > 26,000 lbs) with 2005 to 2006 model year engines. Once retrofitted with a DPF, these vehicles will not need to be replaced with a vehicle with a 2010 model year engine or newer until January 1, 2022.

MECA did not comment on the reasons for the slow DPF sales. One could speculate on two possibilities: (1) a strong preference by California fleet operators to use alternative compliance options, such as purchasing a new vehicle or repowering a used vehicle, rather than installing a DPF, and (2) a lack of enforcement of the regulation.

Installing DPFs on diesel vehicles is one of the most cost-effective ways—less costly than the alternative options—to comply with California’s regulations to reduce PM emissions from the existing diesel fleet, said MECA. To date, more than 300,000 on-road vehicles and 50,000 off-road pieces of equipment have been retrofitted with DPFs around the world. In the USA, based on previous MECA retrofit sales survey results, approximately 90,000 DPFs have been sold since 2001 for both on-road and off-road vehicles.

In California, DPFs have been used to retrofit over 40,000 on-road and off-road vehicles since 2002. The retrofit installations in California have had an excellent performance record. In response to California legislative action in early 2012, ARB staff reviewed retrofit field experience since 2002. Of the 25,000 DPFs deployed in the state during that time, ARB found less than 15 cases where the devices failed to the point of unsafe vehicle operation, and all of these failures were attributed to either poor engine or device maintenance, misapplication of the device, or the ignoring of warning alarms by the vehicle operator (SB 1230 Bill Analysis report). Currently, there are 43 verified Level 3 DPFs (> 85% PM reduction) available in California covering a range of on-road and off-road applications.

Source: MECA