The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated rules making it easier for manufacturers to sell fuel conversion systems. The conversion systems allow vehicles to run on alternative fuels, which may appeal to consumers concerned about energy security, fuel costs, or emissions.

These changes reflect the EPA’s interest in encouraging innovation and spurring conversions that optimize clean air and clean energy technologies. It is also in keeping with the president’s January 18, 2011, executive order, which directs agencies to identify and consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public.

The revised procedures will vary based on the age of the vehicle or engine being converted. EPA has found that the procedures for older vehicles and engines can be streamlined, while maintaining environmental safeguards. As opposed to a one-size fits all approach, EPA’s process is now based on whether a vehicle or engine is new, intermediate age, or outside its expected useful life.

Conversion systems alter an existing vehicle or engine to enable it to run on a different type of fuel.  An example of this type of conversion includes switching a car designed for gasoline to run on compressed natural gas. While properly engineered conversion systems can reduce or at least not increase emissions, poorly designed systems can lead to much more pollution.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/fuels/altfuels/altfuels.htm