If you have thought about keeping your car but switching the fuel to something more sustainable than gasoline, the conversion process is about to get easier thanks to new rules passed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Prior EPA rules and the Clean Air Act made it difficult to convert vehicles to run on alternative fuels because these laws prohibited altering a vehicle or engine from its configuration certified at the time it was manufactured. Alternative fuel conversion systems alter one or more of these original configurations to allow the engine and vehicle to operate on an alternative fuel. The new rules passed by the EPA make it easier for manufacturers to change necessary components without violating the Clean Air Act.

Alternative fuel conversion system

EPA’s new rule will make it easier both on vehicle owners and alternative fuel conversion systems manufacturers to switch gasoline powered engines like this one to run on alternative fuels. Credit: NAFTC

With the new rule, manufacturers of fuel conversion systems will be able to qualify for an exemption from the EPA to tamper with existing vehicle configurations if they show that the converted vehicle and engine still satisfies EPA’s emissions standards. The reporting and approval procedures differ based on the age of the vehicle—new, intermediate age or outside useful life. Newer and intermediate age vehicles are streamlined for approval faster than those vehicles deemed to have exceeded their useful life. However, conversions are possible for all vehicles regardless of the year they were manufactured.

Keeping in line with President Obama’s Jan. 18, 2011, executive order directing agencies to find and consider new regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public, EPA’s new rules will reduce some economic and procedural impediments to cleaner alternative fuel conversions. Meanwhile, the new options maintain environmental safeguards to ensure that emissions are kept within acceptable levels.

To learn more about EPA’s new rule, see this Fact Sheet. To search for certified clean alternative fuel conversion systems that the EPA has approved, use the Document Index System, select “Certificates of Conformity” and then select “Alternative Fuel Conversions.” Detailed search instructions are available in EPA’s October 2010 guidance letter for fuel converters.

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