sales of DPF retrofits for trucks and buses increase in California

Sales of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) for trucks and buses in California increased at the end of 2013 and in the first half of 2014 compared to the first half of 2013, according to the results of a survey released by the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA).

The total number of verified DPFs sold by MECA member companies for in-use, on-road, heavy-duty diesel vehicles operating in California in the first half of 2014 was 5,780 (includes both passive and active DPFs). This is a 65% increase over the 3,508 DPFs sold for this same period in 2013 and on par with the 5,457 DPFs sold in the second half of 2013. These latest numbers follow sales of 6,261 DPFs for trucks and buses in California in 2012.

The increase in sales in the second half of 2013 likely reflects the increase in activity by vehicles owners to meet the 1 January 2014 compliance date under ARB’s truck and bus regulation, MECA suggested. This deadline applied to heavy-weight vehicles with 2005 to 2006 model year engines and to at least one vehicle (any model year) in small fleets (i.e., three or fewer total vehicles).

The continued higher sales in the first of 2014 likely reflects ARB’s recognition of good faith efforts made by vehicle owners to meet the 1 January 2014 compliance date whereby the agency allowed owners to install DPFs through 1 July 2014, without being subject to enforcement action (as long as a fleet entered into an agreement with a retrofit installer for a DPF prior to 1 January 2014).

In its March 2014 Staff Report for the proposed amendments to the truck and bus regulation, ARB estimated that 8,195 truck owners had ordered but not installed a DPF as of 31 January 2014. In addition, ARB estimated that approximately 36,000 trucks (17,000 small fleet trucks and 19,000 large fleet trucks) would need to take steps to comply with the regulation by the end of 2014. MECA expects some of these vehicle owners to comply by installing a DPF retrofit.

Installing DPFs on diesel vehicles is one of the most cost-effective ways to comply with California’s regulations to reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions from the existing diesel fleet. The high emission-reduction efficiency of DPFs provides important public health benefits and climate change co-benefits associated with the reduction of black carbon emissions from diesel engines. In California alone, DPFs have been used to successfully retrofit more than 55,000 on-road and off-road vehicles since 2002.

Overall, in the US, approximately 100,000 retrofit DPFs have been sold since 2001 for both on-road and off-road vehicles. DPF retrofits have been successfully installed on a large range of highway vehicles, including school buses, transit buses, ports trucks, urban delivery trucks, construction trucks, and regional Class 7-8 tractors. Currently, there are 50 verified Level 3 DPF systems (>85% PM reduction) available in California covering a range of on-road and off-road applications.