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Truckers News Staff | February 01, 2012

Cars not trucks: California’s dirty truth

California cities and counties dominate the “dirtiest-air” list in the American Lung Association’s 2011 State-of-the-Air report. The dirty air isn’t from big trucks, and I’m not the only one who says so (but I can’t find an authoritative quote — and I know they exist because I’ve read them — to back up that claim, and I have to go pick up a load soon, so I don’t have time to look).

Consider: The ALA’s report says Salinas, Calif., (where Bobby McGee “slipped away”) has some of the nation’s cleanest air; it also has heavy big-truck traffic due to its massive produce market.

The California Air Resources Board’s continued focus on big-truck exhaust is beyond merely misguided; it’s insane. In heavily polluted areas like Los Angeles, the newer trucks actually clean the air: emit cleaner air than they take in. With time, as motor carriers replace older trucks with newer ones, big-truck pollution issues will simply cease to exist. This won’t happen overnight — it can’t — but it is happening.

In other words, Class 8 engine makers have solved the attendant pollution problems; it’s just a matter of time now as motor carriers replace older trucks.

California’s well-documented, severe and health-degrading air-pollution problems are caused by too many cars, too many people and too much industry. But to address these causes, the state would have to just about tear down and rebuild its $1.8 trillion economy and its citizens’ fundamental lifestyles, which are car-based.

In the 1960s pop hit, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” Dionne Warwick sang, “LA is a great, big freeway. Put a hundred down and buy a car.”

California has yet to outgrow that outdated and unhealthy mentality. Until it does — and until it becomes willing surrender its high-dollar industry (California is by far the leading military contractor state) in favor of cleaning up its air — I guess its air resources board will continue to psychotically place blame for the state’s hazardous air everywhere and anywhere—leaf blowers, Weed Eaters and lawn mowers? Please! Please! — except where it belongs: on the state’s 30-plus million citizens whose car-based lifestyles and industry-based incomes create massive air pollution.

 

Andy Haraldson

Boca Raton, Fla.

 

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What are your feelings on the new hours-of-service rule?

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Every driver should set a minimum gross and time at home for the year, and if a company cannot meet these minimums then it’s time to find one that will. This puts the ball in the company’s court to make sure that if laws lower available time to work then the company will have to increase pay and/or decrease layover, increase miles or pay for all wait time for drivers. — Lee W.

The non-truck-driving community messed things up yet again. Put these lawmakers behind the wheel with dispatchers that think you should be at the delivery when you just left the shipper. They may just change their minds — Riley M.

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