(January 1, 2015 is the Effective Date for the Last of the New Tier 4f Regulations)
On January 1, 2015, the last of the EPA’s Tier 4f environmental regulations went into effect, mandating substantial reductions in pollutant emissions generated by “non-road” diesel engines. These “final” requirements affect the last two categories of such engines (75-173hp and over 751hp), meaning that from 1/1/15 forward, all new diesel engines manufactured in, or for use in, the United States must be in compliance, or subject manufacturers and users to potentially severe penalties (with a few exceptions including locomotives, marine vessels, mining equipment and engines subject to the EPA’s recently revised “flexibility rules”).
Here are some commonly asked questions from our clients, along with our answers:
Does Tier 4 apply to the types of equipment in my fleet? Yes, Tier 4f regulations will now apply to virtually every type of equipment purchased by rental operators throughout the United States from now on (subject to the above exceptions).
What about my current fleet? Do I have to get rid of it? No. The regulations generally do not require rental operators to dispose of their current fleets of older-technology diesel engines (Note: California has adopted its own standards). Local worksites in a growing number of areas have, however, begun to require Tier 4 / Stage IV technology with respect to at least a portion of the equipment used on-site, meaning rental operators will likely have little choice but to move quickly toward replacement (or retrofitting, where possible) fleets in those areas.
Can I still sell off (or trade in) my older-technology equipment? Yes. Older technology equipment can still be sold, provided it was manufactured prior to the effective date of the applicable Tier 4 regulations (or is subject to the above referenced flexibility rules).
What is the Cost of Tier 4f Equipment? Tier 4f compliant machines were initially expected to cost 2% to 7% more than prior versions. We are, however, hearing higher numbers from our clients (though fuel consumption has also been reduced, limiting the overall increase in cost to a degree).
What do I have to do to Comply? Aside from buying Tier 4f compliant equipment, certain use and maintenance requirements will apply. ULSD (ultra-low-sulfur diesel) fuel and low-ash oil will always be required, and depending on the types of Tier 4 technologies incorporated in your equipment, diesel exhaust fluid (“urea”) may be required, as well as cleaning out or burning off (“regeneration”) of soot in particulate matter (“PM”) filters, replacement of PM filters, fuel injectors, PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) filters and/or CCV (closed crankcase ventilation) filters may be required among other things. Never attempt to disable or disconnect any Tier 4f emission control device (see “What if I don’t comply?” below).
What if I Don’t Comply? Save up some money (and consider buying a one-way ticket to a non-extradition country). Potential fines are enormous; up to $37,500 per violation against OEMs and dealers. Additionally, failing to properly use or maintain Tier 4 devices can permanently damage or destroy a Tier 4 engine.
What if My Customers Don’t Comply? This could yield serious consequences for both of you. In addition to the above fines for OEMs and dealers, the EPA can assess fines of up to $3,750 per violation against individuals (e.g., for tampering with Tier 4 emission devices). Also, assessing and/or collecting for damage to a Tier 4 engine done by a customer who fails to comply with Tier 4f requirements may be difficult or impossible under your current Rental Contract.
How do I Make Sure My Customers Comply (or Pay for Resulting Equipment Damage)? Your customers may be much less familiar with Tier 4 requirements than you are. This makes educating them critical to maintaining the health of your equipment and avoiding fines. Plan for mishaps and legal issues, and make certain your customers are aware of, and agree in writing to comply with all Tier 4 requirements (and indemnify you for compliance failures). Contact us at (888) 614-8886, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a Tier 4 Contract Addendum.