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Cali forcing out old semi trucks is “a disaster waiting to happen,” smaller trucking companies fear


California will soon deny registration to semi trucks built before 2010, and the new law is making some smaller trucking company owners nervous. 

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will require semi trucks and other diesel commercial vehicles to have engine models from 2010 or newer by the start of 2023 as a way to meet new emissions standards. The change was announced back in 2018, but with today’s current supply chain and vehicle production issues, small trucking company owners are particularly nervous about what the new rule could mean for their fleet. 

“This is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Bill Aboudi, President of AB Trucking in Oakland. 

“Only two of my 13 trucks will be compliant next year.”

Due to apparent semiconductor and chip shortages, new semi trucks are currently in short supply, which means newer, used trucks are selling for far more than their actual value. While replacing old trucks due to state policy changes is difficult enough, this vehicle shortage puts an even larger burden on trucking companies looking to replace their current trucks. 

“We are a local company and we mostly use hand-me-down trucks,” Aboudi said to ABC 7. “A $30,000 truck is going for over $100,000 right now.”

The Western States Trucking Association (WSTA), a nonprofit group that acts as an advocate for smaller trucking companies, reports that somewhere around 40,000 commercial vehicles in the state are older than 2010 models. If companies don’t find a way to replace these vehicles in the next year, current supply chain woes could worsen if those 40,000 trucks are suddenly out of commission. 

“This potentially could make the supply chain issue everyone is familiar with look like child’s play,” said Joe Rajkovacz, Government Affairs Director at the WSTA. “You would be taking a big chunk out of the chain.”

“We are talking about people’s livelihoods here,” Aboudi continued. “I support new trucks, but it is just not possible right now. Just wait and see what the warehouses will look like, it won’t be good.”

The WSTA and Aboudi say they plan on sending a letter to CARB to request an extension of one more year. 

“Let us keep our trucks for another year and wait for this pandemic to be over and the supply chain is back to normal,” Aboudi said.


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