A bone to the industry from an agency in the doghouse

user-gravatar Headshot

CaliforniaIf the low-use mileage exemption boost I wrote about last Friday goes fully into effect — boosting in-state allowable mileage for trucks with noncompliant powertrains from just 1,000 allowable miles to up to 7,500, according to Joe Rajkovacz of the California Construction Trucking Association — one could easily expect truckers’ views of the California Air Resources Board to shift.

The PR outcome of the move could easily be in positive territory for the board, which no doubt has its problems in that department, for obvious reasons. (Cross-reference the popularity of the sentiment expressed on the Clean Idle parody sticker design shown above.) 

Andy and Myrian Johnson with their 2006 Sterling expediterAndy and Myrian Johnson with their 2006 Sterling expediter

Still, 7,500 miles a year will not be enough for Andy and Myrian Johnson, a team leased to FedEx Custom Critical with a straight 2006 Sterling with a 22-foot rear box. Hauling DOD freight now exclusively, the Michigan-based expediters have found themselves in California quite a bit more recently than in times past. 

When he saw the CARB news Saturday, Andy says he “immediately went to the GPS. It stores state-by-state mileage for the year. Year to date, we’ve done 11,569 miles in California…. Relaxing the exemption buys us a couple of months, but that’s all. It would only get us a half year, at best.”


The Johnsons have been prepping to retrofit the Sterling’s exhaust system with a DPF — “we’ve already had the testing done and the proper kit ordered,” says Andy, for around $13K. 

Anybody else in a similar boat? If you missed the reporting we’ve done on CARB the last few months, find the beginning of the three-part “Left-coast gamble” series here, and there’s a handy interactive tool for quickly checking your own engine’s path toward compliance now and on down the road, depending on your situation, here

Here are a few other voices in response to last week’s news: 

Robert McConnell: Still not worth the aggravation. California is still off my list. 

Kurt Keilhofer: They may be beginning to blink to avoid an economic disaster.

Brandon Battle: It is a sensible compromise to a temporary problem. Soon every truck in America will be California-compliant through attrition and buying new trucks every year. It is inevitable the rest of the country will follow.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers

Commenting as Stormy: We ran entertainment, and we lost three shows because of these rules. I called ARB when the first show came up. We would have been in California for three to five days. They weren’t interested then, because we were over the allowed limited mileage. I have no reason to believe they would be interested now. They could make this change to increase the miles and then could change it back again tomorrow. I can’t get the shows I lost back, and I can’t get those customers back. They can’t get me back in the state, so we both lose. I just lost more.


The Business Manual for Owner-Operators
Overdrive editors and ATBS present the industry’s best manual for prospective and committed owner-operators. You’ll find exceptional depth on many issues in the Partners in Business book, updated annually.
Partners in Business Issue Cover