California truckers protest emissions standards

After two years spent battling the California Air Resource Board's (CARB) truck and bus emissions standards regulations, the California Construction Trucking Association (CCTA) has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The CCTA has been fighting CARB's new environmental regulations since March 2011, claiming the rule puts California state regulations above federal law. The current Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) forbids regulations that could impact the price, routing or service of motor carriers, and the CCTA believes CARB regulations violate this national standard. 

Representatives from the CCTA fear that if left in place, the CARB diesel engine regulations could force carriers to replace their current diesel-powered vehicles that don't meet emissions standards put in place when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). 

"Despite claims used to justify this regulation by regulators and environmental groups that public grant funding is readily available to assist truckers in complying, this is not true," read a statement released by the CCTA. "Small-business truckers are bearing the brunt of the multi-billion dollar expense to unnecessarily replace trucks originally built and certified to EPA emissions standards."

Ruling could change company budgets 
If not overturned, these new standards could mean transportation companies operating within the state of California need to replace their engines to come into compliance with new rules. This approach to emissions reduction stands in sharp contrast to more business-friendly alternatives such as reducing excess truck travel through the use of routing optimization software and maintaining vehicles regularly for highest fuel efficiency and lowest emissions production. 

Environmentally responsible fleets may wish to use route planning software to generate more efficient travel routes for drivers, which not only reduces a company's operating costs but the total number of miles driven and emissions generated. Reducing diesel consumption by reducing total miles traveled, especially as fuel prices have been more volatile than usual, offers significant benefit in reducing related emissions. 

Route optimization software along with the implementation of fleet maintenance management software can help companies reduce total emissions while improving their bottom line. Keeping vehicles operating at higher levels of fuel efficiency through appropriate and regular maintenance can help fleets address air quality issues with their existing trucks and identify the best times to replace underperforming vehicles and components. Measures like these support more efficient transportation business operations as well as improved environmental conditions.