EPA is proposing to make it easier for manufacturers to gain approval to sell fuel conversion systems, according to an agency press release.

The conversion systems allow vehicles to run on alternative fuels, which may appeal to consumers concerned about energy security, fuel costs, or emissions. The proposal reflects EPA’s interest in encouraging innovation and spurring conversions that use clean energy technologies.

Under the proposed approach, compliance requirements would vary based on age of the vehicle or engine being converted. EPA has found that the compliance process for older vehicles and engines could be streamlined, while maintaining environmental safeguards. As opposed to a one-size fits all approach, requirements would now be based on whether a vehicle or engine is deemed to be 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, such as switching a car 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. EPA reminds consumers only to use systems that have EPA approval.

EPA will accept public comments on this proposal until July 23, 2010.