State Vehicles Subjected To CARB Requirements

Katy Grimes: In an interesting twist of irony, the state is now subjected to California Air Resources Board (CARB) rules for retrofitting its diesel vehicles, but at a cost of $57 million for 400 state vehicles.

The $57 million would go to buying some new, compliant vehicles as well doing the retrofits according to the Department of Finance.

The math is astounding at $142,000 per car.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) explained that a retrofit can cost $20,000 to $40,000. If each of the 400 cars was only retrofitted at the higher cost, the total outlay would be $16 million. Needless to say, the math is not clear on this budget item.

Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny, D-San Diego (Committee Chair), asked several times during the hearing if there is a more cost effective way to accomplish the retrofits, and had some snarky words for the way the Department of General Services (DGS) spends money. “This is a DGS problem,” said Ducheny, and added, “DGS is not my favorite agency for doing something cost effectively.”

The LAO said that Cal Trans has actually bought vehicles in the past, and then had to immediately do a retrofit to comply with state regulations and emissions requirements, proving that there is precedence in reckless state spending.

Senator Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, spoke against the vehicle retrofit spending and pointed out the ridiculousness. Senator Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, argued against the cost and said that diesel retrofit  requirements can cost nearly two-times the cost of the vehicle. Huff added, “We created the regulations and now have to follow through ourselves.”

Both Dutton and Huff expressed concern that the legislature might approve the  spending and then CARB could change the regulations once the retrofits were completed.

Dutton was critical of the state always taking a “gold standard” approach, instead of using reasonable, affordable methods.

Huff suggested that Legislators “overthrow all of CARB,” otherwise the state too is “stuck” with the fiscal impacts of decisions made by the legislature, as is the case with the impositions of California’s global warming legislation (AB 32).

Ducheny agreed that the subject needs more research but warned that “not everything can stay open,” and urged the Department of Finance and LAO to provide additional information quickly.

Cal Watchdog will be following up on this as well, hopefully before this spending is squeezed into another bill…


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  1. Tyler
    Tyler 7 June, 2010, 15:24


    Actually, that sounds just about right. Good Job Katy.

    How are you going to spin this one Truthsquad? Did CARB figure the estimated costs in Euro’s or Pounds, then forget to convert it back?

    To be honest, I could believe that considering all of the quality employees at CARB. I mean, it was a CARB employee that forget to finish his degree before getting a job at CARB based on his “education”.

    Reply this comment
  2. Steven Brink
    Steven Brink 9 June, 2010, 08:43

    The reason the “numbers don’t add up” is because a diesel particulate filter retrofit is only one small part of the total cost of the Rule.

    Further, the diesel particulate filters do not work on older (pre 1995) mechanical fuel injection diesel trucks in many applications. Hence there is no retrofit for a portion of the 200,000 In-State owned pre-1995 diesel trucks.

    The particulate matter retrofit is only one piece of the equation. There’s also the NOx compliance requirement.

    Basically, the On-Road Diesel Engine emission rule, as currently written, has an underlying goal of getting every on-road medium duty and heavy-heavy duty truck engine to be compliant with 2010 engine emission standards through a compliance schedule over the next 10 or so years.

    Reply this comment
    IHATEGREEN 10 June, 2010, 16:16

    CARB needs to be closed now!We the taxpayers and citizens are tired of the antidote for Viagra,Mary Nichols taking away our freedoms and our money!All of these emission regulations are based on science and numbers fabricated by CARB.Everyone has to play hardball with CARB and force the legislture to close CARB.

    Reply this comment
  4. MR. Bill
    MR. Bill 10 June, 2010, 19:22

    I, working Joe just received my
    registration renewal for my 2002 one ton diesel truck for the state of
    California $398.00.US and they are asking for a smog test.
    Diesel vehicles in California have been exempted from smog testing until
    Jan 1 2010.
    I went to my local smog station that I have been going to for ten years.
    The explanation I reserved from them was unbelievable.
    They have not received any schooling from the state nor is it required.
    No state required equipment is necessary to test diesel vehicles in California, the inspection is completely visual no machine test.
    It’s plugged in only to contact DMV with the vehicles Information VIN /miles. At a coast of $55.00 every year.
    the test took about five minutes total.
    The owner & examiner explained to me It is a total rip off from the state of California to create revenue.

    Reply this comment

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