Caterpillar Inc. has received conditional certification from EPA to sell on-highway truck engines after October 1. However, its engines still will fall short of new federal emissions standards and will be subject to fines of $3,647 to $12,210 for each one sold after Tuesday, the company said. Cat has said it will not pass the fines on to its customers.

EPA's certification allows the sale of Cat engines in 49 states and Canada with no restrictions for customers who purchase the engines. With EPA's decision, Cat said it expects to receive certification from the California Air Resources Board.

EPA informed Caterpillar that it will be unable to complete the necessary certification work before Tuesday's federally mandated deadline. However, Cat said the agency indicated that it does not foresee any obstacles to full certification of all Caterpillar engine families.

"We recognize the substantial amount of work that EPA must conclude in a short amount of time, and commend the agency for its desire to make sure the certifications are accurate and complete," said Cat vp Sherril West.

Caterpillar said engines produced after the federal deadline will be very similar to the company's current industry-leading engines, but with some elements of its Advanced Combustion Emissions Reduction Technology (ACERT) technology.

Engines with full ACERT technology will be commercially available beginning early next year. Cat told Fleet Owner in March that it intends to begin introducing ACERT versions of all its truck engines starting next April, with full production by October 2003.

The certification for all of Cat engines will expire December 31, Margo Oge, director of EPA's office of transportation and air quality, told Bloomberg. The agency expects to finish reviewing the data from Caterpillar and issue final certification before year's end, she said.