WAIS Document Retrieval[Federal Register: December 20, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 243)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Office of Motor Carrier Safety
[OMCS Docket No. OMCS-99-5867]
Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Ford Motor
Company's Exemption Applications; Minimum Fuel Tank Fill Rate and
AGENCY: Office of Motor Carrier Safety (OMCS), DOT.
ACTION: Grant of applications for exemptions.
SUMMARY: The OMCS is granting the applications of the Ford Motor
Company (Ford) for exemptions from certain fuel tank design and
certification labeling requirements in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations (FMCSRs). The exemptions enable motor carriers to operate
commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) manufactured by Ford, and equipped
with fuel tanks that do not meet the OMCS' requirements that fuel tanks
be capable of receiving fuel at a rate of at least 20 gallons per
minute, and be labeled or marked by the manufacturer to certify
compliance with the design criteria. The OMCS believes the terms and
conditions of the exemptions achieve a level of safety that is
equivalent to the level of safety that would be achieved by complying
with the regulations. The exemptions preempt inconsistent State and
local requirements applicable to interstate commerce.
DATES: The exemptions are effective on December 20, 1999. The
exemptions expire on December 20, 2001.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Larry W. Minor, Office of Motor
Carrier Safety, HMCS-10, (202) 366-4009; or Mr. Charles E. Medalen,
Office of the Chief Counsel, HCC-20, (202) 366-1354, Federal Highway
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.
Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through
Friday, except Federal holidays.
Internet users may access all comments that were submitted to the
Docket Clerk, U.S. DOT Dockets, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW.,
Washington, DC 20590-0001, in response to the previous notice
concerning the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice by
using the universal resource locator (URL): http://dms.dot.gov. It
is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. Please follow the
instructions online for more information and help.
An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem
and suitable communications software from the Government Printing
Office's Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. Internet
users may reach the Office of the Federal Register's home page at
http://www.nara.gov/fedreg and the Government Printing Office's
database at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.
Creation of New Agency
Section 338 of the FY 2000 Department of Transportation and Related
Agencies Appropriations Act prohibits the expenditure of any funds
appropriated by that Act ``to carry out the functions and operations of
the Office of Motor Carriers within the Federal Highway
Administration'' (Public Law 106-69, October 9, 1999, 113 Stat. 986, at
1022). Section 338 further provides that, if the authority of the
Secretary of Transportation on which the functions and operations of
the Office of Motor Carriers are based is redelegated outside the FHWA,
the funds available to that Office under the Act may be transferred and
expended to support its functions and operations.
The Secretary has rescinded the authority previously delegated to
the FHWA to perform motor carrier functions and operations. This
authority has been redelegated to the Director, Office of Motor Carrier
Safety (OMCS), a new office within the Department of Transportation (64
FR 56270, October 19, 1999).
The motor carrier functions of the FHWA's Resource Centers and
Division (i.e., State) Offices have been transferred to OMCS Resource
Centers and OMCS Division Offices, respectively. Rulemaking,
enforcement and other activities of the Office of Motor Carrier and
Highway Safety while part of the FHWA will be continued by the OMCS.
The redelegation will cause no changes in the motor carrier functions
and operations previously handled by the FHWA. For the time being, all
phone numbers and addresses are unchanged.
On June 9, 1998, the President signed the Transportation Equity Act
for the 21st Century (TEA-21) (Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107). Section
4007 of TEA-21, entitled ``Waivers, Exemptions, and Pilot Programs,''
amended 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) concerning the Secretary of
Transportation's (the Secretary's) authority to grant exemptions from
the FMCSRs. An exemption may be up to two years in duration, and may be
Section 4007 of the TEA-21 requires the OMCS to publish a notice in
the Federal Register for each exemption requested, explaining that the
request has been filed, and providing the public an opportunity to
inspect the safety analysis and any other relevant information known to
the agency, and comment on the request. Prior to granting a request for
an exemption, the agency must publish a notice in the Federal Register
identifying the person or class of persons who will receive the
exemption, the provisions from which the person will be exempt, the
effective period, and all terms and conditions of the exemption. The
terms and conditions established by the OMCS must ensure that the
exemption will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to,
or greater than, the level that would be achieved by complying with the
On December 8, 1998, the FHWA published an interim final rule
implementing section 4007 of TEA-21 (63 FR 67600). The regulations (49
CFR part 381) established the procedures to be followed to request
waivers and apply for exemptions from the FMCSRs, and the procedures
used to process them.
As indicated earlier in this notice, the Secretary has rescinded
the authority previously delegated to the FHWA to carry out motor
carrier functions and operations. Therefore, the regulations issued by
the FHWA are now regulations of the OMCS. On October 29, 1999 (64 FR
58355), the OMCS issued a final rule amending the heading for chapter
III of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations to reflect the
Ford's Applications for Exemptions
Ford applied for exemptions from 49 CFR 393.67(c)(7)(ii), which
requires that certain fuel tank systems on CMVs be designed to permit a
fill rate of at least 20 gallons (75.7 liters) per minute, and 49 CFR
393.67(f)(2) and (f)(3), which require that liquid fuel tanks be marked
with the manufacturer's name and a certification that the tank conforms
to all applicable rules in Sec. 393.67, respectively.
On August 10, 1999 (64 FR 43417), the FHWA published a notice of
intent to grant Ford's applications. The FHWA requested public comment
on Ford's applications and the agency's safety analysis, and presented
other relevant information known to the agency.
Discussion of Comments to the Notice of Intent to Grant the
The FHWA received, and the OMCS has reviewed, comments from Collins
Industries, Inc., El Dorado National, General Motors Corporation (GM),
and the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA). All of the
commenters agreed with the preliminary decision to grant exemptions for
motor carriers operating certain vehicles manufactured by Ford. Collins
As a body builder of school buses and commercial buses it has
been our [experience] that Ford's internal design standards lead the
industry in the safety and function. If Ford feels that 17 [gallons
per minute] is the fastest fill rate to be used on their fuel tanks
then I support that decision. I see how higher fill rates may cause
safety issues from excess fuel spillage but can see no reason that
slowing fill rates can compromise safety.
We would prefer to use the fuel tank as supplied by Ford. The
labeling requirements of 393.67 are issues to be addressed by tank
manufacturers that supply tanks to general applications. Ford
designs its tanks to fit specific spatial constraints in its
vehicles. No increase in safety beyond Ford's internal design
constraints is required.
El Dorado National believes the rate at which a fuel tank may be
filled has no bearing on the safe operation of the vehicle, or safety
during the refueling process. El Dorado National stated that ``[t]he
tanks in question will accept fuel at a rate that the typical
commercial unleaded fuel pumps deliver * * *.''
On the subject of labeling of fuel tanks, El Dorado National
indicated that ``[s]ince these vehicle tanks are tested, certified, and
mass produced it does not seem relevant to label each tank.'' El Dorado
National believes the absence of a certification label would not
The NTEA indicated that it is not aware of any safety-related
problems that have or would occur as a result of the current fuel
system design on the Ford vehicles in question.
General Motors Corporation supports granting exemptions from the
fuel tank fill rate, and certification labeling requirements for motor
carriers operating certain vehicles manufactured by Ford. GM
indicated that its G and C/K vehicles also have fuel tanks that do
not meet the OMCS' requirements concerning the fill rate, marking and
certification labeling. GM's comments included a request for an
exemption to these requirements for motor carriers operating certain
GM-manufactured vehicles. As part of the justification for an exemption
for its vehicles, GM argued that the use of automatic shut-off valves
on fuel dispensing pumps makes it unlikely that significant amounts of
fuel will be spilled in the event that a vehicle is fueled at a fill
rate exceeding the fuel system's capacity. The OMCS will publish a
separate notice at a later date requesting public comment on GM's
application for an exemption.
The OMCS has considered all the comments received in response to
the August 10 notice of intent and has decided to grant the exemptions.
Exemption from Sec. 393.67(c)(7)(ii)
The OMCS has reviewed its fill pipe design requirements and has
concluded that the fill-pipe capacity criterion, when applied to
gasoline-powered vehicles, is inconsistent with the Environmental
Protection Agency's (EPA) regulations 1 concerning gasoline
fuel pumps. While the OMCS requirement may be appropriate for diesel
fuel-powered commercial motor vehicles, it mandates that fill pipes on
gasoline-powered vehicles be capable of receiving fuel at twice the
maximum rate gasoline fuel pumps are designed to dispense fuel.
\1\ The EPA requires (40 CFR 80.22) that every retailer and
wholesale purchaser-consumer must limit each nozzle from which
gasoline or methanol is introduced into motor vehicles to a maximum
fuel flow rate not to exceed 10 gallons per minute (37.9 liters per
minute). Any dispensing pump that is dedicated exclusively to heavy-
duty vehicles is exempt from the requirement.
Since the EPA's regulation includes an exemption for dispensing
pumps used exclusively for refueling heavy-duty vehicles, it is
possible that some of the gasoline-powered vehicles that would be
exempted could be refueled at a location (e.g., at a fleet terminal)
where the dispensing equipment exceeds 10 gallons per minute. However,
the OMCS does not believe this will present a safety problem because
the fill pipe design used by Ford is capable of receiving fuel at a
rate of 17 gallons per minute. The 17-gallon-per-minute rate is only 15
percent less than the requirement in Sec. 393.65. Accordingly, the
agency concludes that the 17-gallon-per-minute rate will achieve a
level of safety that is equivalent to the level of safety that would be
obtained by complying with Sec. 393.67(c)(7)(ii).
The OMCS agrees with GM's comments concerning the use of automatic
shut-off valves on fuel dispensing pumps. The use of such technology
minimizes the risk that a significant amount of fuel will be spilled
even in the event that one of the vehicles in question is refueled
using a pump exempt from the EPA requirement.
The OMCS also reviewed available information on the origin of the
fill-pipe rule. The 20-gallon per minute rate in Sec. 393.67(c)(7)(ii)
is based on the Society of Automotive Engineers' (SAE) recommended
practice ``Side Mounted Gasoline Tanks'' as revised in 1949. The SAE
later published fuel tank manufacturing practices in SAE J703, ``Fuel
Systems,'' an information report which consisted of the former
Interstate Commerce Commission's requirements for fuel systems and
tanks (codified at 49 CFR 193.65 in the 1953 edition of the Code of
Federal Regulations). The information report retained the 20-gallon-
per-minute rate. The SAE currently covers this subject under
recommended practice SAE J703 ``Fuel Systems--Truck and Truck
Tractors.'' The 1995 version of the recommended practice continues to
use the 20-gallon-per-minute criterion for fill pipes.
The OMCS does not have technical documentation explaining the
rationale for the SAE's original use of the 20-gallon-per-minute rate
in 1949 and believes the adoption of the criterion in Federal
regulations may have resulted in its continued use in the current SAE
recommended practice which references Secs. 393.65 and 393.67. As
stated by the SAE, ``[t]he intent of this document is not only to
clarify the procedures and reflect the best currently known practices,
but also to prescribe requirements * * * that meet or exceed all
corresponding performance requirements of FMCSR 393.65 and 393.67 that
were in effect at the time of issue.''
The OMCS believes the current requirement may need to be
reconsidered in light of the EPA requirements. While the OMCS reviews
this issue, motor carriers should not be penalized for operating
vehicles with non-compliant fill pipes that they had no practical means
of identifying. Therefore, the agency is exempting interstate motor
carriers operating Ford Econoline vehicles from Sec. 393.67(c)(7)(ii).
Exemption from Secs. 393.67(f)(2) and (f)(3)(ii)
With regard to the exemption from the fuel tank marking and
certification requirements (Secs. 393.67(f)(2) and (f)(3)(ii)), the
OMCS agrees with the arguments presented in Ford's application, and the
comments from GM and El Dorado National that there is no readily
apparent adverse impact on safety associated with the absence of the
required markings. However, the agency continues to believe marking and
certification are important for helping enforcement officials and motor
carriers quickly distinguish between fuel tanks that are certified as
meeting the OMCS'
requirements and those that are not. For cases in which the fuel tank
is manufactured and installed by the vehicle manufacturer, and
maintained by the motor carrier, there appears to be little need for
marking and certification. The need would typically be greatest for
replacement or aftermarket fuel tanks manufactured by an entity other
than the original equipment manufacturer. Since there is no practicable
means for motor carriers and enforcement officials to make a
distinction between original and aftermarket fuel tanks, marking and
certifications are necessary.
The OMCS does not believe the operators of the Ford Econoline
vehicles should be penalized because the fuel tanks are not marked and
certified in accordance with Sec. 393.67. Accordingly, the agency is
exempting interstate motor carriers from Secs. 393.67(f)(2) and
(f)(3)(ii) which require that liquid fuel tanks be marked with the
manufacturer's name, and a certification that the tank conforms to all
applicable rules in Sec. 393.67, respectively.
Terms and Conditions for the Exemption
The OMCS is providing exemptions to Secs. 393.67(c)(7)(ii),
393.67(f)(2), and 393.67(f)(3)(ii) for motor carriers operating Ford
Econoline-based vehicles. The exemptions are effective upon publication
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1) and are valid until December 20, 2001,
unless revoked earlier by the OMCS. Ford, or any of the affected motor
carriers, may apply to the OMCS for a renewal of the exemption. The
exemption preempts inconsistent State or local requirements applicable
to interstate commerce.
The motor carriers operating these vehicles are not required to
maintain documentation concerning the exemption because the vehicles
and fuel tanks have markings that would enable enforcement officials to
identify them. The vehicles covered by the exemptions can be identified
by their vehicle identification numbers (VINs). The VINs contain E30,
E37, E39, E40, or E47 codes in the fifth, sixth, and seventh positions.
The fuel tanks are marked with Ford part numbers F3UA-9002-G*, F3UA-
9002-H*, F4UA-9002-V*, F4UA-9002-X*, F5UA-9002-V*, F5UA-9002-X*, F6UA-
9002-Y*, F6UA-9002-Z*, F7UA-9002-C*, and F7UA-9002D* where the asterisk
(*) represents a ``wild card'' character (any character of the
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315; and 49 CFR 1.73.
Issued on: December 14, 1999.
Julie Anna Cirillo,
Acting Director, Office of Motor Carrier Safety.
[FR Doc. 99-32911 Filed 12-17-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P