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General Motors, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Chevrolet Express, GMC Savana, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra

General Motors, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
March 11, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 47 (Tuesday, March 11, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13735-13736]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05185]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0135; Notice 1]


General Motors, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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SUMMARY: General Motors, LLC (GM) has determined that certain model 
year (MY) 2013-2014 Chevrolet Express, GMC Savana, Chevrolet Silverado 
HD and GMC Sierra HD compressed natural gas (CNG) multipurpose 
passenger vehicles (MPVs) and trucks manufactured between May 20, 2012, 
and September 25, 2013, do not fully comply with paragraph S5.3 of 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. FMVSS 303, Fuel 
System Integrity of Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles. GM has filed an 
appropriate report dated November 25, 2013, pursuant to 49 CFR part 
573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is April 10, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be 
submitted by any of the following methods:
     Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to: U.S. Department 
of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Deliver: Deliver comments by hand to: U.S. Department 
of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The 
Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except 
Federal Holidays.
     Electronically: Submit comments electronically by: logging 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments. Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in 
hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish 
to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please 
enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that 
all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
    Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the 
address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will 
be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or 
denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. GM's Petition

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), GM submitted a petition for an exemption from the 
notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the 
basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety.
    This notice of receipt of GM's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.

II. Vehicles Involved

    Affected are approximately 2,247 MY 2013-2014 Chevrolet Express, 
GMC Savana, Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD compressed natural 
gas (CNG) MPVs and trucks manufactured between May 20, 2012, and 
September 25, 2013.

III. Noncompliance

    GM explains that the noncompliance is an error on the vehicles CNG 
labels. Specifically, the lettering height on the labels is 2.5 mm 
instead of the minimum 4.76 mm as required by paragraph S5.3 of FMVSS 
No. 303.

IV. Rule Text

    Paragraph S5.3 of FMVSS No. 303 requires:

    S5.3 Each CNG vehicle shall be permanently labeled, near the 
vehicle refueling connection, with the information specified in 
S5.3.1 and S5.3.2 of this section. The information shall be visible 
to a person standing next to the vehicle during refueling, in 
English, and in letters and numbers that are not less than 4.76 mm 
(3/16 inch) high.
    S5.3.1 The statement: ``Service pressure ----kPa (----psig).''
    S5.3.2 The statement ``See instructions on fuel container for 
inspection and service life.''

V. Summary of GM's Analyses

    GM stated its belief that the subject noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    A. The information on the subject CNG labels is correct and 
entirely legible.
    Paragraph S5.4 of FMVSS No. 303 requires that the information 
required for the label also be included in the owner's manual using ``. 
. . not less than 10 point type.'' The 2.5 mm lettering height on the 
subject labels is 10 point type, i.e., the same lettering size as what 
is specified for the owner's manual content. The 10 point type that is 
legible for purposes of the owner's manual is also legible on the 
labels installed at the CNG filler port.
    B. The subject CNG label is an ``information'' label, not a 
``warning'' label.
    The subject label is not a ``warning'' label and does not warn the 
user of a safety related risk or consequence. Even if the user does not 
read the label information due to the font size, the user will not miss 
information about a safety risk.
    C. The label font size does not create a risk of misfueling.

[[Page 13736]]

    Even if the user fails to read the information label due to the 
reduced font size, there would be no adverse safety consequence. The 
service pressure of the subject CNG tanks is 3,600 psi. There is no 
risk of over-pressuring these tanks since CNG filling stations are 
required to shutoff at 3,600 psi, per ANSI/IAS NGV 4.2-1999 CSA 12.52-
M99(R09). Accordingly, there is no risk of a fuel leak.
    Even if the shutoff function on a filling station were to 
malfunction, all CNG tanks on the affected vehicles are equipped with 
pressure-relief devices designed to deploy at 5,400 psi, which is below 
the burst pressure of the tank itself.
    With regard to under-pressure (under-fill) potential, all affected 
vehicles are equipped with a CNG fuel gauge in the instrument cluster 
to inform the driver of the fuel level. While some drivers may estimate 
the driving range associated with a full fill, most drivers typically 
rely on fuel gauges, not anticipated range, to determine when to 
refuel. Some CNG filling stations, primarily in Canada, are designed to 
shutoff at 3,000 psi, which is below the 3,600 psi service pressure of 
the affected CNG tanks. However, regardless of whether the CNG tanks on 
the affected vehicles start out full (3,600 psi) or 83% full (3,000 
psi), the driver has ample opportunity to monitor the fuel gauge and 
refuel prior to the CNG being depleted. Additionally, the owner manual 
instructs that ``the fuel gauge has been calibrated to display full at 
approximately 24 800 kPa (3,600 psi) . . .''
    Finally, there is no risk that a customer would attempt to fuel the 
CNG tanks from a conventional gasoline pump. The fueling nozzle and 
filling port for CNG are completely distinct from the corresponding 
nozzle and port used for gasoline, and the distinctions are obvious. In 
the extraordinary event that a user attempted to connect a conventional 
gasoline nozzle to the CNG fueling valve, it would be immediately 
apparent that the mismatched gasoline nozzle does not attach to or work 
with the CNG valve.
    GM also asserts that owners and operators of CNG vehicles (the 
large majority being fleet purchasers) are well aware that their 
vehicles use a non-conventional fuel, and are attuned to the unique 
characteristics associated with CNG use, such as service pressure, and 
tank inspection and replacement provisions. These aspects of the CNG 
fuel system are likely known to owners when or even before they 
purchase the CNG vehicle, and in any event are easily obtained for the 
subject vehicles from the labels at the fueling port, from the vehicle 
owner's manuals, and/or from the labels on the CNG tanks themselves. As 
mentioned above, the information is provided in the owner's manual.
    In addition, GM stated its belief that NHTSA has previously granted 
petitions for labeling related inconsequential noncompliances that GM 
believes can be applied to a decision on its petition.
    GM informed NHTSA that it is not aware of any crashes, injuries or 
customer complaints associated with this condition.
    GM also informed NHTSA that it has corrected the noncompliance for 
all future production.
    In summation, GM believes that the described noncompliance of the 
subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that 
its petition, to exempt from providing recall notification of 
noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall 
noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, any decision on 
this petition only applies to the subject noncompliant vehicles that GM 
no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance 
existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve motor 
vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer 
for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate 
commerce of the noncompliant motor vehicles under their control after 
GM notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.

Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2014-05185 Filed 3-10-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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