Release 04-29      

November 18, 2004


Jerry Martin
Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990
Approved Measures Improve Air Quality Through
Refinement of Protocols for Fuel Use, Mixture and Distribution

SACRAMENTO -- The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today approved a regulation that requires ARB low sulfur diesel fuel to be used in intrastate locomotives and harborcraft. The ARB also amended two other fuel related rules to address logistical concerns for California's reformulated gas (RFG) and to extend the implementation schedule for the Enhanced Vapor Recovery program (EVR).

"The use of CARB diesel by intrastate locomotives and commercial and recreational harborcraft will go far to help the air quality in Southern California and will satisfy State Implementation Plan requirements," said ARB Executive Officer, Catherine Witherspoon.

The new regulation requires all intrastate locomotive and harborcraft to begin using CARB diesel by January 1, 2007 (one year earlier in the L.A. region). This is the same fuel currently used by all on-road diesel motor vehicles in California. By 2006, CARB diesel will be refined to have no more than 15 parts per million by weight (ppm/w) of sulfur. This measure will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 730 tons per year (tpy), emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) by 657 tpy, and emissions of particulate matter (PM) by 219 tpy. Presently the diesel fuel used in these engines is the federal blend which allows sulfur content up to 500 ppm/w. Without this regulation, use of this fuel would continue until 2012 when the federal sulfur standard is expected change to one similar to the current CARB standard.

The board also adopted measures designed to amend regulations controlling the refining of California Phase 3 reformulated gasoline (CaRFG). The amendments clarify current requirements, provide additional flexibility, correct errors, and generally improve the enforceability of the regulations. The CaRFG regulations were originally adopted in March 1999 to phase out the use of MTBE in California gasoline. The amendments include a correction to the procedures, several amendments which provide or restore flexibility to suppliers, clarify requirements for production and transportation of gasoline and other miscellaneous changes.

The last of the fuel measures adopted today was a schedule extension for implementation of the Enhanced Vapor Recovery program. Vapor recovery is the system by which the gasoline fumes created at gasoline service stations is controlled. Extensions were requested because it has taken longer than expected to certify vapor recovery systems meeting all Enhanced Vapor Recovery requirements. Additional time will allow service station operators more options to upgrade existing equipment in a cost-effective manner.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.