California county pushes for truck weight increase

The Mendocino County (CA) Board of Supervisors last week supported a proposal to increase the gross vehicle weight on trucks statewide “in an effort to be proactive in the fight of high-cost fuel, which raises the cost of all products and food we consume,” according to a summary prepared for the board.

The proposal was made at the urging of 3rd District Supervisor John Pinches who touted the idea as a way for truckers to increase the amount of freight they can haul by as much as 20%, while also cutting fuel costs that are passed through to consumers via higher prices for goods. Higher truck weights would also result in fewer truck trips that in turn would lower greenhouse gas emissions. The increase wouldn’t cost the state anything to implement, Pincher said in a Ukiah Daily Journal report.

“The high cost of fuel raises the cost of all products and food that we consume, therefore, timber, agriculture, and manufacturing industries, as well as the consumer, will receive an economic advantage from a substantial reduction in freight cost,” the letter the board approved stated.

“We must be proactive and move aggressively to achieve fuel savings and efficiencies to alleviate the pressures of offshore drilling. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation estimates that raising the federal weight limit would save 2 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually and result in a 19% decrease in fuel consumption and emissions per ton-mile. California road ways are built to handle the extra weight and there are much heavier loads that are permitted to travel them every day.

“Raising the vehicle weight limits for six-axle tractor-trailers would effectively make roads safer by reducing the amount of vehicles on the road, reduce environmental impact, strengthen the economy and preserve transportation infrastructure,” the report said.

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