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Do-it-yourselfers are probably rejoicing in the streets, now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tweaked its rules for selling alternative fuel conversion systems for cars. The previous rule was intended to ensure that fuel conversions don't have the unintended consequence of creating significantly more

Biofuels

U.S. EPA Makes It Easier to Convert Old Cars to Alternative Fuels

Do-it-yourselfers are probably rejoicing in the streets, now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tweaked its rules for selling alternative fuel conversion systems for cars. The previous rule was intended to ensure that fuel conversions don’t have the unintended consequence of creating significantly more

epa new rules for fuel conversion systemsDo-it-yourselfers are probably rejoicing in the streets, now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tweaked its rules for selling alternative fuel conversion systems for cars and certain trucks. The previous rule was intended to ensure that fuel conversions don’t have the unintended consequence of creating significantly more pollution, as can happen with a badly designed conversion system. The new rule modification accounts for the age of the car and the engine when determining whether the conversion complies with emission requirements.

Regulatory Obstacle Lifted for Alternative Fuel Conversions

In order to ensure that a fuel switch still meets emission standards, EPA requires a certificate of conformity for alternative fuel conversion systems. Without this exemption, the manufacturer or installer could face tampering charges under the Clean Air Act, which generally prohibits altering an engine. The previous conformity rule had a one-size-fits-all structure that created an unnecessary burden depending on the age of the car and engine. The new rules adjust for those factors, creating a number of options for meeting compliance with emission standards. The rules for new and relatively new engines/vehicles will remain substantially the same, and will be somewhat less involved for older cars/engines.

Great, But Where do You Get the Alternative Fuel?

The Department of Energy has an online alternative fuel locator, which is sure handy because doing the fuel conversion is just half the equation. Getting hold of the new fuel is the other half. Along these lines, EPA also provides a few caveats for consumers, noting that conversion alone may not result in lower pollution. EPA rules only require that the conversion not result in an increase. In addition, a conversion doesn’t necessarily give you lower fuel and running costs, so here’s another handy item: the Department of Energy’s online, national up-to-date alternative fuel price report.

Image: Vintage car by XOZ (The REAL XOZ) on flickr.com.


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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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