OOIDA: Pending CARB rules create disparity for out-of-state truckers

| 12/15/2010

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has asked the California Air Resources Board to change two major diesel emissions rules slated for discussion this week.

Both California’s greenhouse gas emission rule and its in-use heavy-duty diesel regulations create a disparity between in-state and out-of-state motor carriers, and threaten the movement of goods protected by the Interstate Commerce Clause, OOIDA has stated in written comments from Association President Jim Johnston.

The greenhouse gas emission rule requires use of EPA SmartWay certified tractors and trailers, or retrofit of existing trucks and trailers with a combination of SmartWay approved tires and aerodynamic features designed to improve fuel efficiency. More information on the rule is available here.

The in-use heavy-duty regulation bans trucks progressively by age, although multiple options for compliance are available using specific formulas of retrofits and engine replacements. By 2023, all trucks must have a 2010 model year engine or equivalent. More information on that rule is available by clicking here.

CARB is scheduled to consider formally adopting amendments to both rules at its board meeting Thursday, Dec. 16, and Friday, Dec. 17.

Johnston wrote that OOIDA appreciates CARB’s consideration of amendments that would delay compliance schedules for the greenhouse gas rule. However, the Association believes the regulation has unfairly and unconstitutionally focused its efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions on out-of-state motor carriers who contribute less to the problem than exempted in-state motor carriers.

The greenhouse gas rule doesn’t apply to local-haul trailers and tractors, short-haul tractors and drayage tractors and trailers, even though a UC Davis study showed only 30 percent of annual truck miles within California as being from out-of-state trucks.

Out-of-state carriers operate significantly fewer miles and burn less fuel in California than in-state carriers, OOIDA’s comments read.

“This inequity, which violates the Interstate Commerce Clause, needs to be addressed by CARB staff in this proceeding,” the comments read.

Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA director of regulatory affairs, agreed.

“Unquestionably, CARB’s proposed regulatory amendments to the in-use and greenhouse gas regulations do not adequately extend low-use exemptions to out-of-state motor carriers,” Rajkovacz said.
Small-business truckers from out of state must comply with expensive CARB regulations, including the in-use regulation, the Transportation Refrigeration Unit Regulation and/or the Drayage Truck Regulation, in addition to the Greenhouse Gas Regulation.

“We have a situation where a motor carrier operating out of Maryland, who only runs one trip a year or less than 1,200 miles in California, must comply with all of these CARB regulations,” Rajkovacz said. “Meanwhile, in-state interests don’t have to comply at all, and they’re allowed in some cases to have literally unlimited miles.”

In addition to the disparity, federal fuel economy rules for big trucks were recently proposed by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

OOIDA pointed out that the federal government’s role in determining appropriate emissions from freight movement should take precedence over state implementation of diesel fuel efficiency requirements.

“Because of the complexity of freight movement with the United States, and the nationwide scope and nature of the problem these emissions create, this effort properly should reside in Washington, DC, not Sacramento.”

Regarding the in-use truck and bus regulation, OOIDA said CARB’s regulation gives the appearance that it is even-handed, though provisions of the rule “improperly discriminate against out-of-state interests and place an undue burden on interstate commerce.”

Exemptions from the in-use rule are allowed for agricultural vehicles, and logging trucks, but the rule creates no viable exemptions for out-of-state truckers, OOIDA wrote.

OOIDA’s comments are available on the Association’s website by clicking here for the greenhouse gas rule comments, and here for the on-road rule comments.

OOIDA suggested CARB revisit the rules.

“OOIDA suggests that the Board direct CARB staff to explore further means to reduce the regulatory burden being felt by small-business motor carriers and owner-operators nationally,” Johnston wrote.