NGVAmerica Applauds U.S. DOT on New Heavy-Duty CNG Fuel Container Inspection Labeling Rule
NHTSA Reforms Industry Recommendations and Improved Safety Guidance
Washington, D.C. – NGVAmerica, the national trade association for natural gas use in transportation, today applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for updating its compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel container inspection labeling requirement for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds). This revised guidance matches recommendations previously developed by NGVAmerica after a lengthy and collaborative review.
“This announcement from NHTSA compliments the updated four-tiered inspection and review process NGVAmerica developed with comprehensive industry support and input from the American Trucking Associations,” said NGVAmerica President, Daniel Gage. “Per industry recommended practices, full, detailed inspections should be performed annually or whenever cursory reviews uncover signs that a more detailed inspection is needed. Furthermore, the scope of NGVAmerica’s inspection guidance is expanded to cover the entire fuel system and not just the CNG storage system.”
In December 2017, NGVAmerica released its long-awaited recommended Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fuel System Inspection Guidance document. NGVAmerica’s Technology & Development Committee’s Fuel System Inspection Work Group created the new guidance after two years of discussion and review.
After issuing the guidance, NGVAmerica petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation to remove the mileage requirement and change the 36-month interval to 12 months for heavy-duty vehicles. On June 21, 2019, NHTSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or NPRM. On February 11, 2022, NHTSA published its Final Rule in the Federal Register.
The new rule related to CNG fuel container integrity reads:
‘‘This container should be visually inspected for damage and deterioration after a motor vehicle accident or fire, and either (a) at least every 12 months when installed on a vehicle with a GVWR greater than 4,536 kg, or (b) at least every 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first, when installed on a vehicle with a GVWR less than or equal to 4,536 kg.’’
NGVAmerica’s guidance breaks down suggested CNG fuel system inspection into four tiers. The document recommends detailed visual inspection on an annual basis. A summary of the four-tiered recommendation is as follows:
- Pre-Service Visual Inspection. This is a detailed inspection of the complete CNG fuel system prior to the vehicle being placed into service. This inspection is to verify that the CNG fuel system installed meets specifications and applicable codes/standards.
- Cursory Visual Inspection. This inspection should be done every pre- and post-trip by the driver. During this inspection the driver is checking that there is no damage to the exterior of the fuel system, including the fill receptacle, and that vent lines are capped.
- General Visual Inspection. This should be conducted at preventative maintenance events by a trained technician. During this inspection, the technician is inspecting the shields and enclosures of the CNG fuel system along with any readily accessible CNG fuel system components.
- Detailed Visual Inspection. The final level of inspection is intended to be a thorough inspection of the entire CNG fuel system. This level of inspection will likely require the removal of shielding and/or the use of mirrors and cameras to visually access all components.
Work Group Leaders responsible for developing NGVAmerica’s guidance included Duane Lippincott, United Parcel Service; Leo Thomason, Natural Gas Vehicle Institute; and Matt Krasney and Dean Stapleton, Penske Truck Rental. Representatives from Hexagon Agility, SoCal Gas, Ryder, PepsiCo, Waste Management, FortisBC, Clean Energy, Chart, McNeilus, Worthington, Momentum, Daimler, CSA Group, U.S. DOT, and the American Trucking Association participated in the document development.
It is important to note that NGVAmerica’s and NHTSA’s guidance for fuel system inspection in light-duty vehicles (less than 10,000 pounds) has not changed and remains, “at least every 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.”
The full NGVAmerica Fuel System Inspection Guidance document is available at: https://ngvamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/CNG-Vehicle-Fuel-System-Inspection-Guidance-1.pdf.
NHTSA’s complete Final Rule is available at: https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2022-02588.pdf.