New Guide Helps Clarify Complex Clean Air Laws

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Golden, Colo., February 20, 1998 — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has released A Guide to the Emissions Certification Procedures for Aftermarket Conversions.

This new federal guide can help fleet managers, equipment manufacturers and installers of vehicle conversion kits navigate through emissions regulations for vehicles converted to alternative fuels (known as "aftermarket" conversions).

Tests conducted by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) show that vehicles converted from gasoline to alternative fuels do not necessarily emit fewer pollutants and in some cases emissions may even increase. In response to these findings, the EPA issued an addendum to the legislation that once governed such conversions, Mobile Source Enforcement Memorandum 1A, Section 203 (a) of the Clean Air Act.

"We had a general sense that the old guidance under 1A wasn't comprehensive enough for evaluating either aftermarket parts or conversions," said Richard Ackerman, an EPA senior environmental engineer. "Compelling data from NREL supports conclusions that aftermarket conversions done under the old policy didn't provide adequate assurances of emissions compliance" (Propane Vehicle, December 1997, pg. 6).

The new addendum clearly outlines three alternatives that build a "reasonable basis" for determining that an aftermarket conversion complies with the emissions regulations.

The Guide is a simple step-by-step reference manual that explains EPA certification requirements under the newest rules. It covers dedicated and dual-fuel conversions and includes agency contact information, certification process flow charts, reference tables and an extensive description of responsibilities and requirements such as information labels, warranties and records keeping.

Other features include answers to frequently asked questions, a glossary of terms and a table of emissions standards, broken down by vehicle weight.

DOE, the EPA, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, fleet managers and industry organizations contributed to and reviewed the Guide, which was produced by NREL. To obtain a copy, call the National Alternative Fuels Hotline at 1-800-423-1DOE or visit DOE's Alternative Fuels Data Center and click on "What's New."