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Notice

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Renewal of Fuel Tank Exemptions for Vehicles Manufactured by the Ford Motor Company

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of intent to renew exemptions; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The FMCSA is announcing its intent to renew exemptions granted in response to applications from the Ford Motor Company (Ford), from certain fuel tank design and certification labeling requirements in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Renewal of the exemptions would enable motor carriers to continue operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) manufactured by Ford, and equipped with fuel tanks that do not meet the FMCSA's 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 FMCSA believes the terms and conditions of the exemptions have ensured a level of safety that is equivalent to the level of safety that would be achieved by complying with the regulations, and that renewing the exemptions would not adversely affect highway safety. The exemptions, if renewed, would continue to preempt inconsistent State and local requirements applicable to interstate commerce.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before December 3, 2001.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

You can mail or deliver comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. You can also submit comments electronically at http://dms.dot.gov. Please include the docket number that appears in the heading of this document. You can examine and copy this document and all comments received at the same Internet address or at the Dockets Management Facility from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you want to know that we received your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard or include a copy of the acknowledgement page that appears after you submit comments electronically.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Deborah M. Freund, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, (202) 366-4009, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Background

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 § 393.67.

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. After considering all the comments received, the agency granted the exemptions on December 20, 1999 (64 FR 71184). In that notice, the agency noted that the 20 gallon per minute rate referenced in the FMCSA's regulations, while appropriate for diesel fuel-powered vehicles, also mandates that fill pipes on gasoline-powered vehicles be capable of receiving fuel at the same rate, which is twice the maximum rate gasoline pumps are designed to dispense fuel. The vehicles in question are gasoline-fueled and are capable of receiving fuel at a rate of 17 gallons per minute.

The exemptions covered § 393.67(c)(7)(ii), Construction of liquid fuel tanks; fill pipe, and §§ 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 § 393.67.

Reason for Renewing the Exemptions

The FMCSA intends to renew the exemptions because the commercial motor vehicles covered by the exemptions are still in operation, and the agency is not aware of any information, anecdotal or otherwise, that would suggest that the level of safety for the exempted vehicles is not equivalent to the level of safety that would have been achieved if the vehicles complied with §§ 393.67(c)(7)(ii), 393.67(f)(2), and 393.67(f)(3)(ii). No interested parties have contacted the FMCSA or submitted comments to the docket since December 20, 1999, the date the exemption was granted, indicating that any aspects of the exemptions have had an adverse effect on highway safety. Accordingly, the agency is proposing to renew the exemptions for another two-year period.

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption Renewal

The FMCSA would continue to provide exemptions to §§ 393.67(c)(7)(ii), 393.67(f)(2), and 393.67(f)(3)(ii) for motor carriers operating Ford Econoline-based vehicles. The exemption renewal would be effective upon publication in the Federal Register pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1) and would be valid for two years from the date of approval, unless revoked earlier by the FMCSA. Ford, or any of the affected motor carriers, may apply to the FMCSA for another renewal of the exemption. The exemption would continue to preempt inconsistent State or local requirements applicable to interstate commerce.

As with the original exemption, the motor carriers operating these vehicles would not be 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 alphabet).

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), the FMCSA is requesting public comment from all interested Start Printed Page 55728persons on the exemption renewal. All comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated at the beginning of this notice will be considered and will be available for examination in the docket at the location listed under the address section of this notice. Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in the public docket and will be considered to the extent practicable, but the FMCSA may renew the exemptions at any time after the close of the comment period.

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Issued on: October 29, 2001.

Julie Anna Cirillo,

Acting Deputy Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 01-27551 Filed 11-1-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P