California Officials Support Higher Weight Efforts

March 08, 2009

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The Agricultural Transportation Efficiency Coalition, which supports increasing the overall gross vehicle weight limits for trucks, has received support from the California League of Food Processors and the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Pollution Control District.

The coalition's position is that increasing weight limits enables transporters of raw agricultural products, forest products, and animal feed to move these commodities from point-of-origin to processing facilities more fuel-efficiently.

"AgTEC's goal of increasing the vehicle weight to 97,000 pounds, if realized, could mean California's fruit and vegetable industry has the potential to experience 160,000 fewer truck trips, equal to 48,000 miles each harvest," said CLEP President and CEO Ed Yates. "Add the miles that would be saved by the many other agricultural crops hauled each year and the numbers would be even more impressive."

A look at those numbers reveals a savings of 10 million gallons of fuel; 100,000 fewer tons of carbon dioxide produced and released into the air; and at least 1,200 fewer tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) released annually as well.

"Heavy-duty trucks are the single largest source of nitrogen oxides in the San JoaquinValley, accounting for approximately 40 percent of all NOx emissions," explained Tom Jordan, senior policy advisor of the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Pollution Control District. "Increasing the maximum truck weight limit from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds would effectively add 25 percent to the payload that each truck could carry. Given the significant potential emission reductions associated with this change, the San Joaquin Valley Air District supports increasing the federal truck weight limit to 97,000, provided any potential safety and highway maintenance issues are addressed."

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