Evaporative emissions regs in California eased by MIC action

Publish Date: 
Jul 25, 2013

IRVINE, Calif. - Strict CARB regulations to control evaporative emissions from off-highway vehicles have been eased due to efforts from the Motorcycle Industry Council, the association announced today. However, the regulations still could have a major impact on offroad vehicle sales in California over the next decade.

The reduction in offroad vehicle sales in recent years makes complying with the newly adopted regulation by 2022 economically infeasible for certain models, the MIC stated, and would ultimately force the removal of several models from the California market. 

The California Air Resources Board on July 25 adopted regulations to control evaporative emissions from off-highway recreational vehicles, including off-road motorcycles, ATVs, and side-by-sides or UTVs. Similar regulations are expected to be proposed for on-road motorcycles in the next two years, MIC stated.

The new regulations are below what was originally proposed due to the association's efforts, MIC noted.

"For the past seven years while these regulations were being developed, the MIC worked closely with CARB to ensure the regulations would not severely limit product availability or performance, or significantly increase the cost to buyers," MIC stated. "MIC's persistence resulted in significantly less stringent standards and test procedures, a multiyear extension of the implementation and phase-in period, the removal of refueling emission controls for most vehicles, improvements to the emissions inventory model [and other revisions to the initial proposal].

For example, "red sticker" vehicles -- those that are not required to comply with exhaust emission standards in the state -- seem to be exempt from the new regulations for now, due to conversations held between the MIC and CARB just last week. CARB will hold industry workshops to explore whether the Red Sticker program needs modification, MIC said.

The proposed regulations, to be phased in from 2018 through 2021, establish emission standards to reduce evaporative emissions produced by off-road recreational vehicles due to permeation of gasoline through plastic tanks and rubber fuel lines, tank venting, liquid leakage, and spillage. To meet the new regulations, vehicles will need to be equipped with activated carbon canisters or a pressure relief valve on the vent of the fuel tank, low permeation materials will need to be used for fuel tanks and fuel lines, and newly designed ATV fuel tanks greater than 3.5 gallons will need to meet the filler pipe sealing surface requirements. 

The state contends that California needs additional reductions in reactive organic gases (ROGs) from mobile sources to attain ozone standards. "As on-road mobile sources have become progressively cleaner, the role of off-road sources [for example, from ATVs and UTVs] has become more prominent," reported Richard Corey, executive officer of CARB.

The industry contends the new regulations are not economically feasible. The drop in offroad vehicle sales during the recession and the slow market recovery makes complying with the newly adopted regulation by 2022 economically prohibitive for certain models, the MIC told the state, and would ultimately force the removal of several models from the California market.

The MIC's request for a two-year delay in the regulation’s implementation was denied; however, CARB committed to reviewing the state of the market in the coming years, MIC noted.

"The MIC OE Technical Committee has worked diligently to find solutions that will further improve California air quality while at the same time protecting off-highway recreation for the state's enthusiasts," said MIC Vice President Pamela Amette. "California's ever-changing and increasingly stringent regulations require an ongoing, intense effort by committee members to fight to prevent unintended consequences of well-meaning but ill-advised proposals, and those efforts have made a significant impact today." 

Posted by Mary Slepicka