By Charlie Morasch, November 11, 2013
The California Air Resources Board is considering a move that would help
out-of-state truck drivers be able to make limited trips through
California even if their trucks don’t meet the state’s most expensive
In its original form, CARB’s On-Road
Truck and Bus Regulation was predicted to cost the trucking industry
billions of dollars in truck replacement or retrofit work. The rule
requires most trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating
greater than 14,000 pounds to be upgraded either with diesel particulate
filters or by upgrading to cleaner and newer engines between 2012 and
At CARB’s Oct. 24-25 board meeting, CARB staff outlined
a plan to allow its 1,000-mile annual exemption from the Truck and Bus
Rule to be expanded to 5,000 miles.
Violet Martin, air
pollution specialist with CARB’s Mobile Source Control Division,
estimated that 15,000 trucks still need an emissions upgrade by the end
“Staff believes this will provide targeted relief to
fleets that most need assistance without appreciably changing the
overall benefits of the regulation or the ability of non-attainment
regions to meet federal air quality standards,” Martin said.
CARB also could examine furthering its financial incentive programs
aimed at helping small business trucking operations. Martin said staff
plans to present the 5,000 mile exemption plan by CARB’s April 2014
The proposal to boost the mileage was presented before a passionate discussion about the Truck and Bus Rule.
CARB’s records show 43 individuals lined up to address the board about
the On-Road Rule. Several speakers, including Redding Mayor Rick
Bosetti, warned about the danger of hurting trucking and other
industries that rely on diesel trucks. Others that spoke questioned
CARB’s figure of 15,000 for trucks still needing to be upgraded, with
many suggesting that number is closer to 500,000.
over a half a million trucks based outside the state of California that
still are required to be in compliance,” Karen Pelle told the board.
Pelle said she has replaced multiple diesel particulate filters that
have had cracks.
Skip Davies, Mayor of Woodland, CA, estimated
the rule would shutter 60 to 80 percent of small trucking businesses in
“We still have technology issues with the filters,” Davies said. “They don’t all work. They plug up. Some have to be replaced.”
Several CARB board members indicated support for expanding the mileage
requirement to 5,000 miles, and looking at other ways to help
small-business truck owners.
Greg Furlong, an owner-operator,
said he put 3 million miles on a 1981 Peterbilt before selling it in
2003 to buy a brand-new Peterbilt that year. The rule’s requirement that
he add a filter has worried his family and may force him to leave his
lifelong career, Furlong said.
“It’s been my life since I bought my first truck in ’68,” Furlong said. “Basically, I’m going to be out of business.”
Skip Thomson, member of the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management
District, said he watched CARB’s television commercial about the Truck
and Bus rule and its “Just do it” slogan.
“Just doing it could
cost anywhere between $20,000 for a new filter up to $140,000 for a new
truck,” Thomson said. “So ‘Just doing it’ is a little problematic for
some of my constituents. … This is an extreme burden on our small
CARB’s board members reflected concern about the
welfare of businesses, though more than one member mentioned the need to
continue pursuing regulations that would better air quality and public
CARB Chairman Mary Nichols said she had a “particular
bias in favor of the proposal to increase the size of the low-mileage
“I’m also very interested in pursuing further this
question of whether there are trucks who – either by the nature of their
business or by where they’re located – should not have the same level
of concern for us from a regulatory public health perspective,” Nichols
said. “Having said all of that, I also can’t help remind us that at the
end of the day, by its very nature, regulation advantages some more than
others and disadvantages some other than others.”
Sandra Berg, who said she owned 17 trucks and supported staff’s
recommendation to increase the mileage limit for the exemption, said she
has followed the rule closely as it has developed since 2008.
“This is for real,” Berg said. “People are not coming here to talk about
these issues in a way to be defiant, or flippant. ... I can’t express
strongly enough the need that regulation should not drive small
businesses out of business. We need small businesses here in California,
and the regulation does tend to weigh heavily – almost four times the
amount of cost on small businesses as it does on large businesses.”
For more information, go to the Truck and Bus Rule section on the CARB website here. CARB’s diesel hotline is available at 1-866-6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.