A regulation issued by California’s Air Resources Board in 2008 went into effect January 1, 2023, and the regulation will have the effect of making a large number of commercial vehicles operating in the state illegal (or, as Californians might like to put it, undocumented).
The rule states that, as of Jan. 1, 2023, any vehicle weighing at least 14,000 pounds operating in the state must not have an engine that was manufactured prior to 2010. The board’s justification for requiring engines that had not even been built yet at the time the regulation was passed was based on the theory that future engines would do a better job of reducing emissions.
“When we passed the regulations in 2008, it was to reduce community exposure of toxic air contaminants, it is 100% to protect public health,” a spokesman for the Air Resources Board told KCRA-TV.
As might have been predicted, however, the regulation is about to potentially cause chaos for California’s already teetering economy, which has seen another six-figure population exodus in 2022. The reason is that 70,000 big rig trucks operating in the state — about 10% of the state’s total — are still not compliant with the law and thus must immediately cease operating.
The potential economic disruptions are not enough to deter California, however, which will immediately begin denying registrations for trucks with older engines. Moreover, the board promises that its enforcement group will be auditing trucking companies and issuing citations to those that still have trucks with older engines in their active fleets.
The rule also applies to trucks that are based out of state and merely travel into California, which threatens disruption to trucking routes throughout the country and may strain already fragile supply chains in the United States. However, Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency is apparently working with California to help enforce this regulation upon out-of-state drivers, according to KCRA.
Trucking lobbying groups begged the state of California to delay implementation of the rule for at least one year, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. “We as an association are seeing members drop because of this rule, they’ve simply decided they’re not going to go out and spend $150,000 on a truck that could lead them to bankruptcy,” said Joe Rajkovacz, director of government affairs for the Western States Trucking Association. Rajkovacz also noted that even trucking companies that can afford compliance with the regulation have found difficulty purchasing a new truck, due to supply chain disruptions in the truck manufacturing industry.