New California regulations coming in January will hit the wallets of Oregon truckers.
The rules are meant to significantly reduce greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions by 2014, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The regulations have a combined national economic impact of $17 billion.
More than 800,000 trucks crossed the Oregon-California border in 2009, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. The entire trucking industry supports lowering emissions, says Bob Russell, president of the Oregon Trucking Associations, but the new regulations carry significant costs, especially for the Southern Oregon trucking companies that do a lot of business in California. Russell had no firm numbers on how many Oregon-based trucks would be affected.
Two regulations require trucks to be retrofitted with diesel particulate filters: the port and rail yard rule and the truck and bus rule. The port and rail yard rule targets trucks dispatched to any cargo port in California with engines manufactured prior to 2004. The truck and bus rule targets trucks older than 2007 and weighing 14,000 pounds or more. CARB estimates retrofitting will cost between $10,000 and $31,000 per truck. Yearly maintenance fees for diesel particulate filters are $250, and trucks installed with them lose 2% fuel economy.
Combined Transport in Central Point does about 20% of its business in California. President Mike Card says the truck and bus regulation will affect 25% of his 400 trucks and would cost him approximately $2 million. Card says he will not retrofit his fleet, but that means he has to keep 100 of his trucks out of California.
Card says he has two options for the future: reduce his fleet size, which will cut jobs, or buy new trucks, which will add debt to his company. New trucks in compliance with the regulations cost upwards of $125,000.
“[The regulations] create an unlevel playing field,” Card says, adding it would be more effective if environmental policy were governed at the national level and not state by state.