Oregon lawmaker looks to ban diesel sales in state

Updated Mar 10, 2021

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, March 9, 2021: 

Oregon bill would ban sale of petroleum diesel in state by 2028
A bill introduced in the Oregon House of Representatives would ban the sale of diesel fuel in the state by 2028.

Rep. Karin Power, of Milwaukie, Oregon, introduced the bill on March 2. If passed, it would be phased in over several years, beginning in 2024.

The first phase, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2024, would ban the sale of petroleum diesel for nonretail dealers located in Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties in the Portland area. The second phase would ban retail sales in those three counties by Jan. 1, 2025.

The third and fourth phases would take effect in 2027 and 2028 and would prohibit nonretail and retail dealers from selling petroleum diesel anywhere in the state.

Jana Jarvis, president of the Oregon Trucking Associations, said the bill is an effort to push renewable diesel fuel in the state, but on such a short timeline, she said it would be difficult to achieve.

“The problem for us is there simply isn’t a supply of renewable diesel,” she said. “Titan Freight has a supply, but other carriers can’t access it. It’s questionable why we would mandate a fuel that’s in short supply when our carriers can’t access it.”

See more about Titan Freight’s move to renewable diesel from CCJ Senior Editor Aaron Huff here.

Jarvis added that much of the premise of the legislation and its short timeline is an assumption that there will be a renewable diesel facility in Oregon.

“Some question if that will happen, and if it does, whether supply will be available in Oregon,” she said. “The subsidies are not as good in Oregon as they are in California because Oregon isn’t as well-funded as California. There’s just not as much to work with here. We are not one of the world’s biggest economies.”

Another issue Jarvis noted with renewable diesel supply is that it is produced from feedstocks like animal fats and vegetable oils, often from the restaurant industry.

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“With the shutdown of restaurants in many parts of the country, feedstocks are limited,” she said. “There is trouble manufacturing renewable diesel right now with COVID.”

Ultimately, Jarvis believes renewable diesel will be a good product to reduce carbon emissions, but right now, “a limited supply so far for [House Bill] 3305 to mandate it as a fuel source is certainly questionable.”

In addition to the trucking industry in Oregon being wary of the legislation, the Oregon House Republican Caucus is also strongly opposed to the bill.

“I’m not sure where to begin with this bill,” said Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis of Albany. “Our entire economy depends on the free flow of freight by both truck and rail, nearly all of which is powered by diesel engines. There is simply no commercially available, cost-effective alternative to transporting these goods. Of course, the impacts of this bill go well beyond just trucking and freight and would destroy any and every industry that relies on heavy equipment, render tens-of-thousands of personal vehicles inoperable and put countless Oregonians out of work.”

No action has been taken on the bill as of Tuesday morning, and it is currently awaiting referral to committee. –Matt Cole

TMC Transportation boosts pay for Northeast-based drivers
A major Midwest open-deck company is raising pay for drivers in 10 northeastern states where freight demand is high.

Des Moines, Iowa-based TMC Transportation (CCJ Top 250, No. 52) has increased pay for drivers living in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. TMC said all new and existing TMC drivers who live in those states are now eligible to receive a minimum of 30% of each load.     

Drivers in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan received the incentive in December 2020.

The company said that by offering a pay incentive to attract drivers in what it calls "critical-need" states, it will be able to maintain the capacity to continue serving its customers’ shipping needs. With the new incentive, drivers who live in those states will start at 30% and not drop below that threshold, according to the company. 

TMC said its Performance-Based Percentage Pay Program was created by drivers who wanted their paychecks to reflect the quality and quantity of work performed. It said 98% of its drivers opt into the Performance-Based Percentage Pay Program, which it said typically starts at 26% of each load for inexperienced drivers beginning their driving career and 27% for experienced drivers when they join the fleet.

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