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Notice

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; 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 exemptions for the vehicles specified in this notice. The exemptions sought are from certain fuel tank design and certification labeling requirements in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). These exemptions enable motor carriers to continue operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) manufactured by Ford which are 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 current exemptions for similarly-equipped Ford CMVs 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 granting 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 March 27, 2002. The exemptions expire on March 29, 2004.

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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 first applied in April 1999, 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, respectively.

On August 10, 1999 (64 FR 43417), the Federal Highway Administration (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 64 FR 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 that the tank conforms to all applicable Start Printed Page 14766rules in § 393.67, respectively. The exemptions were granted for two years.

On November 2, 2001, (66 FR 55727) the FMCSA published a notice of its intent to renew these exemptions. The FMCSA received one comment, from Ford. Ford requested that the FMCSA renew its exemption for the fuel tanks covered in that notice. On December 27, 2001 (66 FR 66970), the agency published a notice granting the application for renewing these exemptions.

In its comment to the November 2, 2001, notice, Ford also advised the agency that it sought additional 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.

In a second notice, also published December 27, 2001 (66 FR 66971), the FMCSA announced its intent to grant exemptions for these additional vehicles. The FMCSA received no comments to that notice.

FMCSA Decision

The FMCSA has decided to grant the exemptions for the additional Ford vehicles specified in the second December 27, 2001, 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 submitted comments to the docket indicating that any aspects of the exemptions have had an adverse effect on highway safety. Accordingly, the agency is granting the exemptions that were the subject of the December 27 notice for a two-year period.

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 Ford 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 March 29, 2004, 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 other exemption granted to Ford, 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 for the additional E-series vehicles contain E35 or E55 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*, F7UA-9002D*, YC25-9002-D* (a new fuel tank for E37 series vehicles), or 2C24-9002-E* (a new fuel tank for E55 series vehicles) where the asterisk (*) represents a “wild card” character (any character of the alphabet). The VINs for the F-series vehicles contain an F53 code in the fifth, sixth, and seventh positions. The fuel tanks are marked with part numbers 1C34-9K007-F*, 1C34-9K007-G*, and 1C34-9K007-H* where the asterisk (*) represents a “wild card” character (any character of the alphabet).

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31315; and 49 CFR 1.73.

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Issued on: March 22, 2002.

Joseph M. Clapp,

Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 02-7363 Filed 3-26-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P