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MECA releases US diesel retrofit sales figures for 2013

11 April 2014

The Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) released the results of its survey of the number of diesel retrofit devices sold by MECA member companies in 2013. The results confirm the continuing declining trend in the US diesel retrofit market.

The total number of verified (by US EPA and/or California ARB) diesel retrofit devices sold in the United States (including California) was 15,467. Of this total, 87% (13,419) were diesel particulate filters (DPF) and 10% (1,575) were diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC). This total also includes 300 closed crankcase filters. Sector-wise, 13,154 diesel retrofit devices were sold for on-road diesel engines and 2,313 for off-road diesel engines.

According to MECA’s previous surveys, MECA member companies sold 16,262 diesel retrofit devices in 2012, 20,177 in 2011, 24,640 in 2010, and 29,180 in 2009.

The decline in retrofit sales reflects the decrease in federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding for clean diesel projects ($120 million was appropriated for FY 2009-2010, $49.9 million for FY 2011, $29.9 million for FY 2012, and $19.952 million for FY 2013), as well as the increasing proportion of funding spent on engine repowers and vehicle replacements rather than retrofits. For FY 2014, DERA received only $20 million, and President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal eliminated funding for the program.

In California, 10,614 diesel retrofit devices were sold in 2013, of which 98% (10,427) were DPFs. The sales of DPFs for on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles continued to remain lower than expected, with 8,934 units sold in 2013. This number follows on-road retrofit filter sales of 6,261 in 2012 and 6,075 in 2011. Under the ARB truck and bus regulation, the agency had projected that as many as 76,500 retrofit DPFs would need to be installed from 2011 through 2015. It appears, however, that truck operators preferentially choose other compliance options, such as extensions, credits, and the purchase of new or used DPF-equipped trucks.

ARB is considering new amendments to the truck and bus regulation, which would provide additional flexible compliance options (e.g., delayed compliance dates) for small fleets, lower mileage fleets, fleets that operate in NOx attainment areas, and fleets that have already made investments to comply with regulation. These regulatory changes are projected to have a negative economic impact on retrofit manufacturers by reducing retrofit filter sales by up to 70% over the remaining years of the rule compared to the current regulation. The proposed compliance delays are also projected by ARB to reduce statewide PM reductions by about 7% versus the current regulation, which equates to 1,350 tons of additional PM emissions being emitted into California’s air over the next few years.

According to MECA, DPF retrofits are one of the most cost-effective options to comply with California Diesel Risk Reduction Plan (DRRP) regulations to reduce PM emissions from the existing diesel fleet. DPFs have been used to retrofit approximately 50,000 on-road and off-road vehicles in California since 2002, and these retrofit filters have had an excellent performance record. From 2000 to 2012, only 0.6% of warranty claims under California DRRP programs were related to DPFs. In conducting investigations of these claims, ARB staff found that engine component failures and inadequate maintenance were the predominant causes for the retrofit failures.

“Although retrofit sales for trucks and buses in California continue to be sluggish, DPFs remain a proven option for trucking fleets to meet the requirements of ARB’s truck and bus regulation,” said MECA Executive Director Joseph Kubsh. “Regarding the latest proposed amendments, we thank ARB staff for their hard work in responding to the direction of the Board in bringing forth this proposal. However, although the amendments do a good job of balancing additional flexibilities in the rule while minimizing the loss of emission reductions, we believe that ARB needs to establish robust methods to enforce compliance with the rule and prevent further changes to the regulation. A number of the proposed flexibilities offer opportunities to abuse the system and we urge ARB to remain vigilant in their efforts to ensure a level playing field for all stakeholders.”

Source: MECA