Episode 25 Show Notes

These new California Trucking laws take effect January 2023

The most pressing change occurring at the end of this year is that drayage trucks manufactured with an engine year model of 2007 to 2009 will no longer be permitted to operate in the state’s ports and railyards. Engines prior to that year already were banned.

California trucking: Older engines off the road; DOL’s Walsh talks unions

freightwaves.com/  John Kingston·Friday, January 13, 2023

 California’s 2023 already is off to an eventful start. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

California’s trucking sector kicked off the new year with an updated set of regulations and a visit from the secretary of labor, with the state’s AB5 independent contractor law as a regulatory backdrop.

The latest step that went into effect on the road to a fleet of zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 is that on Jan. 1, no vehicles with an engine prior to the 2010 year could be on the road. The vehicle itself can be older, as long as it has an upgraded engine. 

There are no signals from the market of a squeeze in capacity as a result of the Jan. 1 changeover, which is the latest graduated step that started by taking pre-1994 vehicles off the road at the start of 2015. 

The Outbound Tender Rejection Index (OTRI) for Los Angeles in the FreightWaves SONAR data dashboard dropped from a recent high of 4.34% in mid-July to 2.36% Wednesday. At that number, Los Angeles has a lower OTRI than the national OTRI of 4.69%, suggesting no capacity issues in that key freight market as a result of the latest engine requirements.

FreightWaves SONAR: Outbound Tender Reject Index. To learn more about SONAR, click here.FreightWaves SONAR: Outbound Tender Volume index (bottom). To learn more about SONAR, click here.

That weakness in the OTRI has come even as volume has increased, according to the Outbound Tender Volume Index for Los Angeles, which was 192.11 at the beginning of the year and 265.82 on Wednesday. For the first almost two weeks of the year, LA volume has increased alongside a weakening of capacity.

The gradual withdrawal of older engines, following the first move at the start of 2015, was extended to 1994-1995 vehicles a year later. That was followed by a series of restrictions that went into effect on New Year’s Day in each of the next four years that now has phased out vehicles from 2000 through 2009. California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations hold vehicles that are 2010 or newer as “fully compliant” with existing emissions regulations.

A CARB spokesman said its estimate of the number of trucks that would fall under the regulation is approximately 36,900 for trucks registered in California and 192,400 for trucks registered in other states. 

Joe Rajkovacz, of the Western States Trucking Association (WSTA), said the estimates last year of CARB were that 70,000 trucks would be impacted. He said that figure was supplied by CARB when WSTA sought a delay in the rule.