Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Importing Vehicles and Engines into the U.S.

Glossary: Terms and Acronyms

Terms

Act
Bond
Canadian Version Vehicle
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Catalyst
Catalytic Converter
Certificate of Conformity
Certificate Holder
Certified
Curb Weight
Custom Brokers
Emission Testing
EPA Certified Configuration
Excluded Vehicle/Engine
Exempt Vehicle/Engine
Filler Neck Restrictor
Gas Guzzler Tax
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
Heavy-duty Truck or Vehicle Engine (HDE)
Heavy-duty Diesel Engine (HDDE)
Heavy-duty Gasoline Engine (HDGE)
Heavy-duty Vehicle (HDV) or Heavy-duty Truck (HDT)
Hydrocarbon
Independent Commercial Importer (ICI)
Light-duty Truck (LDT)
Light-duty Vehicle (LDV)
Mini-truck
Model Year
Nitrigen Oxides ( NOx)
Non-conforming Vehicle
Nonroad Engine
Nonroad Vehicle
Non U.S. Version Vehicle
Offroad Vehicle
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)
Oxygen Sensor
Original Production (OP) Years Old
Port of Entry
Racing Vehicle
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Useful Life
Vacuum Hoses
Vehicle
Vehicle Emissions Label

Top of page


Act

The Clean Air Act, as amended (42 U.S.C 7401 et seq.) requires EPA to regulate emissions from light-duty vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles, and the engines used in heavy-duty vehicles and heavy-duty trucks. Violations of the Act can result in civil penalties of up to $37,500 per violation.


Top of page


Bond

A bond is a formal agreement by the importer to forfeit a specified sum of money, based on the value of the vehicle, engine, or equipment being imported, if he or she fails to adhere to the conditions of importation.


Top of page


Canadian Version Vehicle

A vehicle that complies with Canadian safety and emission standards and that is manufactured for the Canadian market.


Top of page


Carbon Monoxide

A colorless, odorless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete fossil fuel combustion.


Top of page


Catalyst

A substance that changes the speed or yield of a chemical reaction without being consumed or chemically changed by the chemical reaction.


Top of page


Catalytic Converter

An air pollution abatement device that removes pollutants from motor vehicle exhaust, either by oxidizing them into carbon dioxide and water or reducing them to nitrogen.


Top of page


Certificate of Conformity

The document issued to a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine manufacturer by EPA under section 206(a) of the Act. A Certificate of Conformity certifies that a particular class of motor vehicle conforms to the EPA requirements. Every class of motor vehicle introduced into U.S. commerce must have a Certificate of Conformity which is valid for only one model year of production.


Top of page


Certificate Holder

A manufacturer holding a valid Certificate of Conformity issued by EPA.


Top of page


Certified

Covered by a Certificate of Conformity issued by EPA.


Top of page


Curb Weight

The weight of a vehicle with standard equipment and fluids, but not including options, driver, passengers or cargo.


Top of page


Custom Brokers

Custom brokers are licensed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct CBP business on behalf of importers. They take the responsibility of filling out paperwork and obtaining a customs bond for the importer. There is no legal requirement for an importer to hire a customs broker to clear its goods. However, many importers opt to do so for the convenience.


Top of page


Emission Testing

As used in this document, "emissions test" is used as a convenient abbreviation for the collection of all applicable federal emission test procedures. This should not be confused with the simpler and cheaper emissions tests that are required by many states, and conducted by state test facilities, or garages and dealers.


Top of page


EPA Certified Configuration

An EPA-certified configuration is an “unaltered vehicle” manufactured in conformity with U.S. federal emission requirements, with a U.S. emissions compliance label in the engine compartment that identifies it in the English language as conforming to all EPA requirements.


Top of page


Excluded Vehicle/Engine

Excluded vehicles or engines that have been excluded from the emission requirements of the Clean Air Act. Reasons for exclusion include vehicle age (i.e., manufactured prior to the regulations, fuel type, maximum speed, competition or racing features, or lack of features associated with practical street or highway use).


Top of page


Exempt Vehicle/Engine

Exempt vehicles or engines meet certain criteria that allow them to be exempt from EPA emission standards and/or other emission requirements that would otherwise apply to that category of vehicles or engines.


Top of page


Filler Neck Restrictor

A device that narrows the filler neck to a vehicle's gas tank in order to prevent accidental use of leaded gas, which was historically dispensed from a larger diameter filler nozzle than unleaded gasoline. Leaded gasoline is generally no longer commercially available in the United States.


Top of page


Gas Guzzler Tax

The Energy Tax Act of 1978 initially established a “gas guzzler tax” on the sale of new vehicles whose fuel economy failed to meet certain statutory levels. Subpart F of 40 CFR Part 600 sets out the procedures for EPA's determination of the gas guzzler tax.


Top of page


Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

The weight specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle. The loaded weight of the vehicle includes passengers, options, and cargo.


Top of page


Heavy-duty Truck or Vehicle Engine (HDE)

Any engine to be used in a heavy-duty truck or heavy-duty vehicle for the purpose of propelling the truck or vehicle.


Top of page


Heavy-duty Diesel Engine

A heavy-duty engine that runs on diesel fuel.


Top of page


Heavy-duty Gasoline Engine

A heavy-duty engine that runs on gasoline.


Top of page


Heavy-duty Vehicle (HDV) or Heavy-duty Truck (HDT)

Any motor vehicle (including buses) having a GVWR of greater than 8,500 pounds, or curb weight of more than 6,000 pounds, or that has a basic vehicle frontal area in excess of 45 square feet, (40 CFR 86.1803-01).


Top of page


Hydrocarbon (HC)

Chemical compounds that consist entirely of carbon and hydrogen.


Top of page


Independent Commercial Importer (ICI)

A commercial importer of non-conforming vehicles who is not an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and does not have a contractual agreement with an OEM to act as its authorized representative for the distribution of vehicles in the U.S. market. An ICI is considered to be a manufacturer when it modifies a nonconforming vehicle.


Top of page


Light-duty Truck (LDT)

Any motor vehicle rated at 8,500 pounds GVWR or less which has a vehicle curb weight of 6,000 pounds or less and which has a basic vehicle frontal area of 45 square feet or less, which is:

  1. Designed primarily for purposes of transportation of property or is a derivation of such a vehicle, or
  2. Designed primarily for transportation of persons and has a capacity of more than 12 persons, or
  3. Available with special features enabling off-street or off-highway operation and use (40 CFR 86.1803-01).

Top of page


Light-duty Vehicle

A passenger car or passenger car derivative capable of seating 12 passengers or less. (40 CFR 86.1803-01). [Note: The federal "light-duty vehicle" definition is essentially identical to the California definition for "passenger car”.]


Top of page


Mini-truck

Mini-trucks are small trucks or vans, with an engine displacement below 1000 cubic centimeters and a maximum engine power of 25 – 45 Hp with a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour or less.


Top of page


Model Year

The vehicle manufacturer's annual production period (e.g., vehicles manufactured in January 1994 are considered to be part of the 1994 model year). If the manufacturer has no annual production period (e.g., the model year is not explicitly specified by the manufacturer for many vehicles manufactured for sale in foreign countries), the model year is considered to be the calendar year in which a vehicle is manufactured. For a vehicle modified by an ICI, the ICI's model year is the calendar year in which it modifies the vehicle.


Top of page


Nitrigen Oxides ( NOx)

Nitrogen oxides are the product of combustion from transportation and stationary sources and a major contributor to the formation of ozone in the troposphere and to acid deposition.


Top of page


Non-conforming Vehicle

A vehicle that is not covered by a Certificate of Conformity prior to importation into the U.S. (either a final or conditional importation) and which has not been finally admitted into the United States by EPA. Vehicles claimed to be U.S. Certified vehicles but driven overseas are generally presumed to be nonconforming until proven otherwise, including demonstration of the presence and proper functioning of all emission related components.


Top of page


Nonroad Engine

An internal combustion engine (including the fuel system) that is: 1) used in a nonroad vehicle, 2) installed in or on equipment that is self propelled and/or performs another function while propelling itself (e.g., lawnmower), or 3) portable or not at the same location for more than 12 consecutive months (e.g., generators). Nonroad engines do not include those used in a motor vehicle, or a vehicle used solely for competition, or that is subject to standards promulgated under Section 111 (New Source Performance Standards) or Section 202 of the Clean Air Act (40 CFR 89.2).


Top of page


Nonroad Vehicle

A vehicle that is not capable of being safely and practically driven on public roads or highways, including both offroad/recreational vehicles (such as dirt bikes, ATVs, ORUVs and snowmobiles) and other vehicles with features including, but not limited to, tracked road contact means, inordinate size, or features ordinarily associated with military combat or tactical vehicles such as armor and/or weaponry. EPA regards vehicles that exceed any of the federal weight or dimensional limitations placed on vehicles using the Interstate Highway System to be of an inordinate size.


Top of page


Non U.S. Version Vehicle

A vehicle that is not certified and labeled by the U.S. EPA as meeting U.S. emission standards.


Top of page


Offroad Vehicle

See nonroad vehicle.


Top of page


Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

The manufacturer that originally produced the vehicle or heavy-duty engine (e.g., Ford, Mercedes Benz, etc.)


Top of page


Oxygen Sensor

A sensor in the engine exhaust system that measures the concentration of oxygen in the exhaust gas.


Top of page


Original Production (OP) Years Old

A vehicle's age, determined by subtracting the calendar year in which it was originally manufactured from the calendar year of importation (e.g., a vehicle built by a European manufacturer in 2002 and imported into the U.S. in 2004 would be two original production years old).


Top of page


Port of Entry

The port where a vehicle or engine enters the United States.


Top of page


Racing Vehicle

A vehicle that has, in general, been extensively modified for racing, and is incapable of safe and practical street or highway use because it lacks features associated with this type of use.


Top of page


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Customs and Border Protection is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that is responsible for regulating imports of engines and vehicles. For further information, see http://www.cbp.gov/.


Top of page


Useful Life

The period of time during which an emission standard applies to vehicles or engines. For light-duty vehicles, and for light-duty trucks not subject to the Tier 0 standards built since 1994 model year, the useful life is 10 years or 100,000 miles whichever occurs first. For light-duty trucks subject to the Tier 0 standard is 11 years or 120,000 miles whichever occurs first. Heavy-duty motor vehicle engines and nonroad engines have varying periods of useful life as defined by EPA regulations.


Top of page


Vacuum Hoses

Vacuum hoses provide intake manifold pressure (vacuum) to systems on the engine and the vehicle. They can be critical to maintaining the proper air/fuel ratio, or pulling Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) into the intake manifold. They can also used to provide power to other vehicle systems including; cruise control, EGR, transmission shift solenoids, brake assist, etc. Vacuum hoses are part of the emission control system.


Top of page


Vehicle

As used in this manual, "vehicle" is used as a convenient abbreviation for the collection of all categories of motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines. Specifically, it includes cars, motorcycles, light-duty trucks, heavy-duty vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, and heavy-duty engines.


Top of page


Vehicle Emissions Label

The EPA vehicle emissions label is entitled "Vehicle Emission Control Information “, and will contain the name and trademark of the manufacturer and an unconditional statement of compliance with EPA emission regulations.


Top of page



List of Acronyms

Acronym Definition
ATV All Terrain Vehicle
CAA Clean Air Act
cc Cubic Centimeter
CFR Code of Federal Regulations (U.S. vehicle emission regulations administered by the EPA are found in Volume 40 of the code [40 CFR].)
CI Compression Ignition
CNG Compressed Natural Gas
CO Carbon Monoxide
DMV Department of Motor Vehicles
EPA United States Environmental Protection Agency
FTP Federal Test Procedure (City Test)
GVWR Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
HC Hydrocarbon
HDDE Heavy-duty Diesel Engine
HDE Heavy-duty Engine
HDGE Heavy-duty Gasoline Engine
HDV Heavy-duty Vehicle
I/M Inspection/Maintenance
ICI Independent Commercial Importer
IRS Internal Revenue Service
kW Kilowatt
LDT Light-duty Truck
LDV Light-duty Vehicle
LPG Liquefied Petroleum Gas
MDPV Medium-duty Passenger Vehicle
MSHA Mining Safety and Health Administration
NOx Nitrogen Oxides
OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer
OP Original Production ("Original production years" refers to the year the vehicle was manufactured subtracted from the calendar year the vehicle was imported).
ORVR Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery
RPM Revolution Per Minute
SI Spark Ignition
U.S.C. United States Code
VIN Vehicle Identification Number

Top of page

This page is maintained by EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ).
For more: About Us | Get E-mail Updates | Browse the A to Z Subject Index.

Jump to main content.