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RV dealers caught up in new EPA emissions requirements

MIRA LOMA, Calif. — On Jan. 1, the Environmental Protection Agency implemented new standards for installation of onboard generators that matched rules developed by the California Air Resources Board. The new laws require RV manufacturers and dealers to install fuel systems that limit gas vapors emitted from RV generators.

David Mitchell, sales manager for ECI fuel systems told RV Daily Report that gasoline generators must now include a vapor recovery system to prevent gasoline fumes from being released into the atmosphere. Instead, the vapor must be recovered and returned to the tank where it can be burned by the engine.

“Dealers are required to use these new systems when installing any gas generators in 2011,” said Mitchell. “Say, for example, an RVer wants to upgrade his generator on a 2006 travel trailer. He must first decide if he wants a diesel, propane or gas system. But, if he chooses gas, the dealer must install an EPA-compliant fuel system.”

A 14-gallon EPA-compliant fuel system will cost approximately $300. However, dealers who fail to install the required tanks will face a fine of $37,500 per incident, Mitchell said.

The new EPA standards, which apply to small, off-road engines less than 25 horsepower in size, are expected to lower generator exhaust emissions by 33 percent, according to material prepared by Cummins Onan.

The standards apply to towable RVs only. Motorized RVs are already built with a system designed to meet EPA emissions standards.

The EPA rules require that generators capture the vapors created inside the fuel tank that supplies the generator. The vapors are captured inside a carbon canister, which then sends the vapors to the generator when the engine is running to burn them instead of releasing them into the atmosphere, Cummins Onan noted.

A fully-certified system must include a hose, special fittings, evaporative model generator, a carbon canister and a specially designed metal tank. More importantly, the components must all match in that their levels of certification cay not conflict. In other words, if the generator, canister and tank are EPA compliant, but the hose is not, the entire system may be cited for failure to comply, Cummins Onan noted.

“This significant drop in hydrocarbon emissions will require Cummins to implement a three-way catalyst to reach these levels,” the Cummins material noted. “These catalysts will be installed inside the mufflers. This will basically ensure that customers will have no change in installation due to exhaust emissions.

“In addition to catalysts, CPG will be implementing air management to maximize the benefit of the catalyst and controls updates to ensure that the catalyst does not overhead in rare conditions, such as the failure of a spark plug,” the document read.

There is no difference as to whether a trailer manufacturer or an RV dealer installs the generator — it must comply with the new rules. “A dealer or any other service center has the same obligations as the OEM to select and install generators and fuel system components the meet the EPA requirements,” a Cummins Onan document noted.

The following Cummins Onan gensets are certified to meet the requirements for evaporative emissions: 2.8-kilowatt EVAP, 4-kilowatt EVAP, 5.5-kilowatt EVAP and 7-kilowatt EVAP.

According to Cummins Onan, if a dealer makes a conversion to install a generator, both the dealer and OEM may be held responsible for the violation.

For more information, visit www.USEPA.gov.

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report.

One comment

  1. I use ECI as my tank supplier for my horse trailers, they are really good. Probably the easiest company to deal with in terms of efficiency for product.

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