EPA streamlines alt-fuel conversions with amended regulations

With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tweaking its rules for alternative fuel conversions for vehicles, it's time for do-it-yourselfers to rejoice. Previously, the EPA's rules for alt-fuel conversions made it difficult to convert older vehicles. However, changes made to the Agency's regulations take into account the age of the vehicle and its engine when determining whether conversions comply with emissions requirements. Meaning that when converting an older vehicle to run on something like compressed natural gas, the converted auto need only be as clean running as the vehicle was prior to any modifications.

In order to ensure that a fuel switch still meets emission standards, the EPA requires a certificate of conformity for conversion systems. Without this, the manufacturer or installer could face tampering charges under the Clean Air Act, which prohibits alterations to an engine. The EPA notes that some conversions may not result in lower emissions and that fuel costs could increase.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has a handy-dandy online alternative fuel locator, which is useful because getting hold of some alt-fuels isn't as easy as it ought to be. Likewise, the DOE's up-to-date alternative fuel price report is one tool that's essential for any DIY-er who's looking to convert his or her ride.

[Source: Environmental Protection Agency]
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EPA Streamlines Regulations for Car and Truck Fuel Conversion Systems

New options encourage innovation, maintain air quality protections

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated rules making it easier for manufacturers to sell fuel conversion systems. The conversion systems allow vehicles to run on alternative fuels, which may appeal to consumers concerned about energy security, fuel costs, or emissions.

These changes reflect the EPA's interest in encouraging innovation and spurring conversions that optimize clean air and clean energy technologies. It is also in keeping with the president's January 18, 2011, executive order, which directs agencies to identify and consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public.

The revised procedures will vary based on the age of the vehicle or engine being converted. EPA has found that the procedures for older vehicles and engines can be streamlined, while maintaining environmental safeguards. As opposed to a one-size fits all approach, EPA's process is now based on whether a vehicle or engine is new, intermediate age, or outside its expected useful life.

Conversion systems alter an existing vehicle or engine to enable it to run on a different type of fuel. An example of this type of conversion includes switching a car designed for gasoline to run on compressed natural gas. While properly engineered conversion systems can reduce or at least not increase emissions, poorly designed systems can lead to much more pollution.

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