The two classic, Academy of Motion Pictures snubbed films of the late 70s, Convoy and Smokey and the Bandit (but not the sequels which we should never speak of) celebrated the essential portion of the America economy, the over the road trucking industry. The struggles of the trucking industry highlighted in the films, over burdensome regulatory environments and relentless pursuit by multiple enforcement agencies for infractions large and small remains unchanged.
The fight has broadened from speed limits and illicit cargo concerns to environmental concerns. California, the republic’s leader in overburdensome legislative endorsed value signaling, has decreed that starting 1 Jan 2023, with some narrow exceptions, all semi-trucks conducting over 1,000 miles in its state with engines with 2007-2009 emission specs will be prohibited. The enforcement agencies will PRESUME that all 2008-2010 trucks are in violation of the ban. In a perversion of the innocent till proven guilty concept, the citizens can prove their compliance by filling out forms and submitting photo evidence of their compliant engine to the bureaucrats, who suggest such obedience well in advance of the registration date or you will face delays. Out of state vehicles will face fines and impoundment. California officials gleefully pointed out that in state trucks will be policed by registration, leaving more “smokeys” to patrol the boarders of the state to enforce the regulation against out of state trucks.
It would appear that over 75,000 VIN’s with some activity in California would be impacted. This comes at a time when truck drivers are scarce, and the supply chain and its fragility has gone from the visibility of the lone student interested in library science in a small town to the captain of the varsity squad. And it’s in a state where many goods are off loaded into the US economy.
This regulatory action by a sister state will once again throw waves across the entire fruited plain of the US. The result will be higher prices, more delay and additional barriers to entry into the trucking market. I do wonder if the environmental good that the state seeks to promote adequately outstrips the impact on the citizens of the United States.
In other transportation news, Union Pacific railroad is announcing that because of delays, non-UP cars are going to be limited on its lines. They did this back in 2008 prioritizing rail space to the fracking areas to haul out product over grains and fertilizer transport. Ag depends on the rail system, the trucking system and the waterways of the US to move its products. The industry needs to remember that the railroads are also a verb (railroading) that has negative impacts on Ag and its ability to thrive.