The trucking industry has met the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with reactions ranging from cautiously supportive to concern. Dubbed Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM), it would to eliminate five-minute truck idling in California.
The regulation, if passed, would apply to all commercial vehicles over 14,000 lbs. operating within California regardless of the state or country in which it was registered. All five-minute idling of such vehicles that does not fall under certain exemptions would be prohibited effective in 2009.
An industry source, who requested anonymity, was concerned that California simply does not have the alternative power infrastructure to support the measure.
“CARB has been receptive to our input but unfortunately the reality of the industry might not measure up to the proposal,” the source told Fleet Owner, noting that few truckstops in California are equipped with electrification stations.
Another obstacle the industry faces is that there are no industry standards for alternative means of powering cabs. Not all trucks are compatible with truckstop electrification stations, the source pointed out.
“From what I see the industry is working toward the same values as CARB but from a deployment sense there are a lot of technologies available but the ideal solution has not jumped out at us yet,” the source said.
CARB believes that the regulation is feasible, noting that the fuel savings an auxiliary power unit yields would pay for itself in a few years.
“Our solution involves a combination of encouraging truckstops to install more electrification units and encourage carriers to purchase auxiliary power units,” Mike Tollstrup, CARB chief of project assessment, told Fleet Owner. “Our preference is to let the market do its thing.”
Overall CARB has expressed confidence that the trucking industry is ready to conform to regulations but has acknowledged initial costs the proposal would bring to be the biggest obstacle for the industry.
“We think the proposal can go through now—it’s just a matter of giving businesses time to invest in the right equipment. When you’re talking about investing in a product that pays for itself in a few years—that’s pretty good,” Tollstrup said.
Roughly 50 truckstops are equipped with electrification units out of 200 in California, according to Tollstrup. However, electrification stations are not the answer, Tollstrup said, pointing out there are shortages of parking spaces in the state.
Waste Management Inc. (WM) has expressed support for the measure.
“There were two areas of idling concern that we had with the proposal— one is when our trucks have to queue up at a disposal facility, the other is when we have to power our front-end loader with our cab,” Charles White, Waste Management director of regulatory affairs told Fleet Owner. “CARB doesn’t consider these instances idling.”
WM does not believe the regulation would have a large impact on its operations.
“The regulation would have a minimal effect (on operations) if at all,” White said. “Its certainly something we’re going to be aware of, however.”