Modesto, Calif., (April 26, 2017) – For those that own diesel powered trucks, there are some recent changes to how those trucks are regulated for air quality. SB1, the gas tax law, which was recently passed by the legislature, had some provisions regarding diesel powered trucks over 14,000 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) (does not include pickups) that will affect agriculture. Starting in 2020, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will have to confirm with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that a truck is in compliance with air quality rules before that truck can be registered. This is similar to how our smog check program works now for cars and pickups.
This provision gives even more value to the agricultural extension that Western United Dairymen and other Ag organizations negotiated into the truck rule. There is also a low use vehicle extension that allows trucks operating less than 1,000 miles per year (5,000 miles per year through 2019) among other extensions for logging, construction and other trucks. Having those extensions gives you more flexibility in maintaining older trucks that stay within the mileage limits of those extensions. However, CARB has recently been reviewing their database of trucks that have the extensions and preventing the update of vehicles that are missing some information or were not reported correctly. If you got a notice from CARB or were not able to report this January it is important that you resolve any issues so that your dairy is able to maintain its extensions. This is further complicated by the fact that if you call or e-mail CARB regarding your trucks it will likely be weeks until you get a response and resolving something that takes multiple correspondences could take months. If you need help with this please let me know.
Lastly, it seems that CARB is not waiting until 2020 to find trucks that are operating out of compliance with their truck rule. That rule currently requires that all trucks greater than 26,000 GVWR have an exhaust particulate filter and an engine that is 1996 and newer. Apparently CARB is checking DMV records for trucks that may not fit these criteria and reaching out to the truck owners. This quite complex just for owning a truck in California and that is why Western United Dairymen is here get provisions like the agricultural extension into rules like this and to help you understand and comply with them. If you need any help with reporting your trucks or understanding what this means for your dairy please give me a call.
by Paul Sousa, WUD Director of Environmental Affairs