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If you’re involved with freight in California, including vehicle shipping, you need to be aware of new policies taking effect. They will likely raise costs for shipping companies and the consumers they serve. These policies could also make it harder for ordinary people like you to ship vehicles into, out of, or around the state of California. Keep reading for a rundown of all you need to know about changing California truck laws.
Legislating California Air Quality
In an effort to improve California air quality, particularly in densely-populated urban areas, California will stop registering heavy trucks built before 2011 or any truck running on an engine produced before 2010. The state has devised an enforcement tool that will automatically block the registration renewal for any driver in a non-compliant truck, including car transport carriers.
California plans to phase in these rules gradually. By Jan 1, 2020, all trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds (a weight-category that includes vehicle haulers) and produced before the year 2000 must be compliant. This rule also applies to trucks between 14,000 and 26,000 pounds and produced before 2004.
The remaining trucks (those produced between either the year 2000 or 2004 and 2010) must comply by January 1st of 2023. By that time, no truck registered in California will be older than 2011 or have an engine older than 2010. Getting older, dirtier, and less-efficient trucks off the road should have a positive impact on air quality and help the state meet goals related to climate change. Those are certainly positives. However, the freight industry will bear most of the burden, including shippers, drivers, and anyone interested in auto hauling. It stands to reason that the additional expense will get passed on to California consumers.
These rule changes come as part of a larger effort in California to combat diesel smog and reduce statewide emissions. For example, legislators recently passed rules requiring truck drivers to get their rigs smog-tested every two years, similar to the requirement for passenger vehicles. Towards that same end, the state will require 9% of vocational vehicles (think box trucks or package delivery vans) to be electric by 2025, and 75% to be gas-free by 2035. Like these rules to get older trucks off the road, both these actions intend to improve air quality – but they do so at the expense of the shipping industry. That affects everyone, vehicle shippers and others, who plans to ship things in California.
What California Truck Laws Mean for You
It’s important to note that these rules don’t apply to trucks registered in other states that travel into California to pick up or drop off shipments. That said, they still affect a lot of trucks considering there are 420,000 heavy-duty trucks currently registered in California, and by some estimates, 200,000 of these trucks could lose their registration by 2023, especially at smaller shipping and construction companies with older vehicles in their fleet.
One way or another, those costs will eventually shift from the shipper onto the consumer. Shippers forced by these laws to purchase new trucks or upgrade truck engines will have to make significant new investments they cover by raising prices for freight. How much remains unknown, especially as shippers contend with a flurry of rule changes affecting a wide range of vehicles taking effect within a short time frame. Regardless, price hikes are coming, which could drive smaller carriers out of business, lead to further industry consolidation, and eventually mean there are fewer shipping options in California. Don’t expect freight to go away entirely. Instead, prepare for it to be less accessible than before.
But don’t let that discourage you. If you need to ship a vehicle, for example, there will still be options available in both the big cities and in more rural areas. That being said, you will have much more success shipping vehicles on your schedule and within your budget with the help of an auto shipping broker like Direct Express Auto Transport.
Vehicle Shipping Options in California
Freight prices may be rising and shipping options may be declining, but it’s still easy and affordable to ship a vehicle in the Golden State with the assistance of Direct Express Auto Transport. When you use our easy, no-cost online quote calculator, we connect you with multiple drivers willing to pick your vehicle up in point A and drop it off in point B. Then you choose the option that works best for you based on your schedule and budget. Because of the California electric truck and air quality laws taking effect, shipping prices will be higher. However, you can keep the cost to you as low as possible by comparison shopping for the most affordable option available. Get your free quote at any time, and take some time to explore our blog to learn more helpful tips and tricks about vehicle shipping. If you have questions along the way, about the California truck laws or about vehicle shipping generally, please contact us.