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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:

Grant of applications for exemptions.

SUMMARY:

The FMCSA is granting the application from the Ford Motor Company (Ford) for a renewal of exemptions for the vehicles specified at the end of this notice 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 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 continue to preempt inconsistent State and local requirements applicable to interstate commerce.

DATES:

The exemptions are effective on December 27, 2001. The exemptions expire on December 29, 2003.

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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.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

Internet users may access all comments that were submitted to this docket in response to the previous notice by using the universal resource locator (URL) http://dms.dot.gov, and by requesting the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice. You can examine and copy this document and all comments received at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Background

Ford's Applications for Exemptions

Ford applied for exemptions for the vehicles specified at the end of this notice 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, 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. After considering all the comments received, the agency granted the exemptions on December 20, 1999 (64 FR 71184). In that notice (at 71185), the agency noted that the 20 gallon per minute rate referenced in the FMCSA's regulations, while appropriate for diesel fuel-powered vehicles, mandates that fill pipes on gasoline-powered vehicles be capable of receiving fuel at 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 Start Printed Page 66971that the tank conforms to all applicable rules in § 393.67, respectively.

On November 2, 2001 (66 FR 55727), the FMCSA published a notice of intent to renew this exemption for the specified vehicles. The FMCSA requested public comment on Ford's applications and the agency's safety analysis.

Discussion of Comments to the Notice of Intent to Renew the Exemptions

The FMCSA received one comment, from Ford. Ford requested that the FMCSA renew its exemption for the fuel tanks covered in the November 2, 2001 notice. Ford also requested extension of exemptions to cover the fuel tanks of additional models of E-series vehicles that were not in production at the time of the original 1999 petition, and for certain F-series vehicles.

FMCSA Decision

The FMCSA considered the comments received in response to the November 2 notice and has decided to renew the exemptions for the vehicles specified in that notice. 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 the 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 that were the subject of the November 2 notice for another two-year period.

In a separate notice in today's Federal Register, the FMCSA announces its preliminary determination of intent to grant Ford's application for an exemption to the additional E-class and F-class vehicles.

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

The FMCSA is continuing to provide exemptions to §§ 393.67(c)(7)(ii), 393.67(f)(2), and 393.67(f)(3)(ii) for motor carriers operating the vehicles of Ford Econoline-based vehicles specified in the next paragraph. The exemptions are effective upon publication in the Federal Register pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1) and are valid until December 29, 2003, 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 continues to preempt inconsistent State or local requirements applicable to interstate commerce.

As with the original exemption, the motor carriers operating these specified 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 alphabet).

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Issued on: December 20, 2001.

Joseph M. Clapp,

Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 01-31735 Filed 12-20-01; 2:51 pm]

BILLING CODE 4910-22-P