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How Will “Dirty Diesel” Bill Affect California Car Transport?

California Car Transport

A new bill has been introduced in the California state senate that would “phase out” diesel trucks over the next three decades. Senate Bill 44 will mostly target medium and heavy-duty trucks, as well as buses, which makes us wonder how it might affect California car transport services.

A bit about the dirty diesel bill

Known as Senate Bill 44, the bill would require the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to “develop a comprehensive strategy by January 2021” to help meet federal air-quality regulations. It would also force the state to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

According to the article linked above, diesel vehicles create a third of all smog-forming emissions in the state. More to the point, they put more particulates in the air than all of California’s fossil-fuel power plants combined. So it’s not surprising that the state legislature – or some of the state’s legislatures, at least – are pushing for a reduction in emissions.

Truckers and trucking companies, naturally, are pushing back against it. While the bill does include funding to help transition to cleaner medium and heavy-duty vehicles, it may not be enough. The funding only runs through 2025, which many believe won’t be enough time.

Then there’s the problem of the bill not really touching on whether out-of-state truckers will be affected. This could have far-reaching implications for many industries, including car transportation.

Potential impacts of SB 44

Right now, zero-emission trucks are few and far between. There’s plenty of plans for them, with companies like Tesla and Nikolai Motors working on electric and hydrogen trucks, respectively. But if car carriers have to update their trucks, that’s going to impact their bottom line.

The buses being updated doesn’t affect the trucking industry, so there’s no real worry from us there. It’s still going to be an issue for the state, but public transportation doesn’t move goods from across the nation into the state.

Something that has raised concerns is how California will implement the required infrastructure of zero-emission vehicles. While California boasts a robust zero-emission infrastructure compared to other states, it’s still not as widespread as people would like. Electric long-haul trucks are still in their infancy, after all. Should the bill pass and the emission requirements tightened, the state will naturally be under heavy pressure to implement infrastructure to support zero-emission long-haul trucks.

That could end up costing a lot, particularly in more rural areas. While Tesla’s truck is slated to have a range of 500 miles on a single charge, we don’t know how long it will take to recharge the engine. With the way long-haul trucking is now, downtime costs money.

Let’s not forget, too, that diesel is naturally more powerful and economical than electric, at least right now. Diesel engines last longer and still get better fuel economy than electric. However, the bill does include a provision for the California Air Resource Board to develop a market-based strategy to help solve the problem. How well that will do remains to be seen.

How SB 44 could impact California car transport services

The issue really comes down to whether out-of-state trucks moving freight into California will be affected. If California passes stringent emissions restrictions and forces out-of-state drivers to abide by them, it could spell disaster for incoming freight.

As an auto shipping company, we’re concerned with how this might impact incoming and outgoing cars. Los Angeles is one of the nation’s largest car transportation hubs, with thousands upon thousands of vehicles going to and from that city alone every year. California is rivaled only by Texas and Florida in terms of its popularity in the vehicle shipping world.

If the bill passes, out-of-state carriers may not be able to move freight into California. In-state carriers would have to update their fleets as well, which could mean fewer carriers based in California.

And then there’s the impact on pricing. We could see prices both into and out of California increase due to the bill.

There is belief that within the next decade, over-the-road trucking fleets could see drastic changes. But the changes that will be necessary will be costly and will take time to implement. There’s concern that the trucking industry may not be able to change in that amount of time.

American Auto Shipping can help

The bill hasn’t passed yet, but based on what we’re seeing, it may not be the right bill to get the job done. Clean air is important, of course. Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions need to be curbed. But diesel fuel is over 200 years old and there are many, many trucks on California’s roads. Thirty years may seem like a long time to get something like this implemented, sure. But in reality, it could take even longer.

If you’re interested in shipping a vehicle, make sure to give us a call at 800-930-7417 to speak to a representative and get a quote. We can help you move your vehicle to or from anywhere in the United States.

Dave Armstrong
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