No RV After All, & California Diesel Killer Law

Well, I’ll not be doing the RV Coast To Coast thing after all. Spouse gets a headache or a bit dizzy in some vehicles ( I can feel it too) due to low frequency resonances. Infra-sound sort of stuff.

We first noticed this in a Ford Van about 30 years ago, so didn’t buy it either. In an extended test drive of a nice new Newmar, I could feel it and she reacted to it. So a no-go on that plan. ( I may try an old Blue Bird “someday” to see if it is just a size thing or if it is a maker / model thing, but not in time to move…)

So she’s going to fly out, and I’m going to drive a car load of stuff. Then either movers move the house full or I get a big truck and DIY. TBD at this point. (Likely movers I think…)

BUT, along the way, saw several ads for Diesel Trucks and Buses that said something like “Can’t use this anymore due to new Smog Law”. WT? In California, old Diesels have typically been exempt from any smog laws. Only after 2007 was there anything applied to Diesels.

Well, I decided to find out just what was what. Don’t live in California so don’t care? It applies to people VISITING California in an RV too…

New Laws in California Could Be Trouble for Diesel RV Owners
by Cary Hillside on March 29, 2021

Having enacted many laws and regulations over the years to curb the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), California has long been known as one of the most active states in the fight against climate change. Whether these regulations are good, bad, or in-between, consumers’ perspectives are often significantly influenced by the type of vehicle they drive. Some diesel RV owners may be bristling right now at a new proposed law that could spell big trouble for them.

Climate Change, huh? Do they know that Diesels get much better MPG so emit far less CO2 / ton-mile? Do they know that “smog controls” for most vehicles cause them to consume MORE fuel and emit MORE CO2? Broken logic runs deep in these folks.

An embedded tweet says:

California EPA
Last month, @CAgovernor directed @AirResources to develop regs to achieve 100% #EV car sales in CA by 2035, transition to #ZEV short-haul trucks by 2035 & ZEV heavy-duty vehicles by 2045. This will protect the air we breathe. #CleanAirDayCA #airpollution #emissions

So Zero Emmissions heavy-duty trucks… boy is that going to drive prices of everything shipped through the roof. Nothing but EV cars to be sold starting in 14 years.

But what does this have to do with old trucks?

By 2035, California hopes to move to 100 percent zero-emission vehicles and phase out remaining diesel vehicles by 2045. Along with the California General Assembly, CARB has aggressively targeted diesel-powered vehicles, given that they produce more GHG than gasoline-powered ones.

Definitely short on the “understanding physics” department. Diesel Powered trucks make more gasses because of their SIZE not their type of engine. For a given SIZE the gasoline powered trucks make more exhaust gasses.

But they are correct that an 18 wheeler makes more exhaust gas than a Toyota Prius…

A recently approved law should be of specific interest to diesel RV owners. Senate Bill 210 directs CARB to develop a “Heavy-Duty Vehicle Maintenance and Inspection Program” applicable to all vehicles greater than 14,000 pounds operating in California.

In short, these vehicles will have to follow California’s emissions standards and hold an annual certificate from CARB validating their vehicle meets these standards. This regulation will apply no matter where the vehicle was registered, according to Camper Report.

Senate Bill 210 directs CARB to establish this program starting with a pilot, followed by a full inspection program. The inspection program will be coordinated with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and include procedures for both visual and functional inspections and necessary emissions testing. Those who do not comply would be assessed fees, and penalties CARB establishes.

This proposal is one of many CARB measures intended to curb diesel emissions from trucks, both operating in-state and out-of-state. But it also has implications for diesel RV motorhomes owners residing in California, along with owners traveling to and from the Golden State.

It very well could reduce emissions significantly. But it could also have adverse business impacts on the transportation and tourism industries.

“Could” have adverse impacts? Could. Ya think? How about flat out killing off a chunk of visitors in the most expensive and biggest RVs around? Folks who drop money like crazy. Movie Stars who live in coaches “on set” fairly often and the movies they make going elsewhere?

Were I running a trucking company, I’d just charge a huge fee for anything going to California and arrange a “trailer swap” location on the Nevada or Arizona border. Things will take longer to move, and there will be an added charge for the truck change and two drivers coordinating and the land for the swap spot, but hey…

Were I an ocean shipper I’d just land cargo in Mexico, Oregon, Washington, or Canada and skip the whole California thing.

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom approved this bill in September 2019. And while the long on-ramp for implementation of the law (coupled with the pandemic) may have muted public reaction, industry and environmental groups have, and continue to, weigh-in.
However, other industry groups within the transportation and agriculture industries, including the California Farm Bureau Federation, California Cattlemen’s Association, and Western States Trucking Association, oppose the law, as per CDLLife.

Senate Bill 210 could put a damper on what has been a historic period of RV sales. The RV Industry Association has also taken note of the bill. It plans to work with CARB to ensure that the development and implementation of Senate Bill 210 do not unduly burden diesel motorhome owners in or visiting California.

As of now, the certificate requirement is not yet in effect but is expected to be effective sometime in 2023. So if you own a diesel-fueled motorhome and were planning on one of California’s many RV parks, you may want to do so soon.

The Stupid, it burns… But at least in late 2022 there will be a lot of cheap Diesels to buy and drive out of California…

But at least now I know why folks are saying they are selling their old trucks and buses due to the new smog requirements. Dump the old Diesel, buy a replacement Gasoline bus, burn more fuel and make more CO2. Way to go, Gov.

This Forbes article about increased regulations on NEW trucks quotes a “spokesperson” who says it “only” will increase costs by 6%. Sure…

The omnibus regulations apply to California-certified vehicles sold starting in 2024 and will increase the cost of a truck by less than 6%, according to a spokesperson.

Figure closer to 10-12% when it is in place and operating. So hitting new trucks one way, old ones another way. And then they wonder why there is a Trucker Shortage…

Manufacturers of heavy-duty trucks have several engineering options to comply with the new rules, according to CARB. Strategies include better engine calibration, improvements to selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, and new fuel-saving technologies like cylinder deactivation that also enable much lower NOx emissions.

When fully implemented in 2026

So 4+ years until that one is fully cramping truckers.

California Mandate: We’re Coming For Your Diesel Truck

by Thom Taylor on June 29, 2020

In a landmark decision that will reverberate for years, California announced it will require manufacturers to start selling zero-emission vehicles by 2024. The mandate applies to medium-duty and heavy trucks. The goal is to have a minimum of 300,000 zero-emission trucks traversing the state by 2035. By 2045, all medium and heavy-duty trucks will be ZEVs. In other words, California is coming for your diesel truck.

Another mandate will follow from the California Air Resources Board requiring large fleet owners to purchase a certain amount of ZEV trucks.
Heavy-duty diesel trucks are the number one source of smog-forming nitrogen oxide pollution in the state. The goal is naturally to reduce climate-warming emissions to improve public health. It is also seen as a way to increase the health of low-income residents living in fairly close proximity to freeways.

Yeah, because buying electricity from out of State is so much more efficient at reducing emission IN California… But at least we know Tesla will have a mandated market for his e-Truck regardless of cost or efficiency…

Note that California imports a load of electrons from the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona and via the Pacific DC Intertie from Washington State.

Oh, and I wonder what happens to shipping / trucking when we have a rolling blackout hit the Truck Charging stations?

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Global Warming General, Political Current Events. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to No RV After All, & California Diesel Killer Law

  1. jim2 says:

    So how bad does it have to get before a large majority of people leave Cali? Then there’s the whole water mismanagement. Then there is a whole other s***pot full of evil done by government there. Unbelievable.

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    Folks have been steadily leaving for the last decade+. I spent 5 out of 10 or so years living in Florida waiting for the family to “catch up” to me…

    Now Son is in Chicago. Spousal Twin & Her Kid moved to Minn. We’re headed to Florida. Neighbors moved to N. Carolina. Etc. etc.

    I’ve seen somewhere on the order of 2 moving trucks / month in our neighborhood area alone for the last several months. Trying to book a rental truck, one way, to places outside California is now running about 2 x the price to book one inbound as they are stacking up out of State.

    I went to rent a POD to move. A single 16 foot POD, to Florida? $8000. I can buy a used Box Truck for less than that, pay $1800 for fuel, and still have money left over (and may yet do that now that I know the “Diesel Smog” issue isn’t Right Now At Reg but a year+ away and I’ll be selling it in Florida…)

    The reason the population isn’t going down much, though, is the massive increase in Hispanics in the rural areas (many / most illegal) and the influx of “Professionals” from other countries into Silly Con Valley. A LOT of H1B visa programmers from India and a surprising number of Chinese ( I think a flood came in at the time Hong Kong was changing hands).

    To folks from vastly worse places, this still looks good.

  3. H.R. says:

    E.M., you speculated about what trucking companies might do. You hit on this, but a glancing blow, I think.

    There is a shortage of truckers and it is hard to get goods from point A to point B right now. So long as trucking companies have more business than they can serve, why would they even bother to take loads into California?

    They can make the same revenue without bothering to try to figure out how the heck they will comply with laws and regulations that they do not have to deal with in the other 47 States (or 57 if you pull Executive privilege).

    So you pointed out the obvious; overseas imports will largely go around California OR they will all leave California by train, right from the docks.

    But not everything California needs comes in from the ports. I foresee a lot of companies calling freight brokers for loads to California and the trucking companies say, “No. What else ya got?”

    I’m thinking California will see shortages of goods from the other 47 States and eyewatering prices from in-State goods.

  4. E.M.Smith says:


    There’s also a chance that some loose nut will figure Diesel Trains are “Heavy Diesels” too and try to do stuff to them.

    Yes, there is SOME direct to train offloading in California, but a LOT goes by truck. Unless and until the train capacity increases, the truck quantity stays an issue. It takes a long time to add more track, double track single sections, and buy more freight cars and engines…

    I’m fairly sure some companies will just add 10% to Compliance Costs and jack the rates and keep on carrying. Especially companies that are entirely In State. But independents? Anyone with major service area NOT in California? Yeah, easier to just say no and move on.

    But until it hurts way bad, the idiots in Sacramento will keep on turning the screws.

  5. YMMV says:

    California is the first but it won’t be the only.
    Interesting design ideas, but I predict that after they jump through all the hoops they will just ban all diesels anyway.

  6. jim2 says:

    I sense some of you don’t watch much TV. I don’t watch a lot, but I’ve started watching Bloomberg TV in the morning. It has scrolling news boxes on the right with short summaries of information. At times, the box expands to show detail of some of the summaries.

    So, this morning, they had a guy on from Airbus. It appears they are going to try hydrogen planes. They will start with smaller planes. I mean, if hydrogen were a good idea, we would already have. What could go wrong?

    And if you don’t keep up with the news, “climate change” is all over it. The EU is going to make banks keep more cash on hand due to “climate risk.” Biden is going to give away our money to poor countries because of it.

    There’s more going on than I can relate. The push due to “climate change” right now is gaining a lot of momentum – and of course it ain’t market driven. We will suffer.

  7. H.R. says:

    @YMMV re “they will just ban all diesels anyway”

    Maybe in California, but I don’t think so in the rest of the country.

    Diesel fuel will be available until suitcase-size reactors are commonly available to power farm equipment and heavy, long haul trucks.

    Just imagine trying to get crops in during that 3-day window of perfect weather where harvesting “must be done” and it now takes 6 days because you have to stop and recharge batteries. Nope. Farmers need to jump in the cab and go when the weather is with them.

    Or how about truckers taking a load from Central Florida to Missouri? It’s not just miles driven that factor into trucking, but also time. If you’re sitting somewhere charging, you’re billable miles are zero. Hmmm… OK. Maybe the trucking industry will switch to billing by hours instead of miles. That will work for them, but consumers will get hit by the increased cost.

    I’m counting on diesel fuel being available for the rest of my driving days. I figure I have about 15 years max before they take away the keys. It might be less, depending on health (or if I stop breathing or something before then 😜).

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    In the ’80s to early ’90s I did a LOT of experiments with alternative fuels in a few Diesels. Mercedes 240D, I.H. Scout w/ straight 6 Nissan, Volvo Penta 2 cyl in my boat. One of the reasons I LOVE my Diesel is that they can be fairly omnivorous. You can even, now, buy Diesels with the ability to run on Natural Gas for much of their fuel (as a ‘co-fuel’ with the Diesel injection acting like a spark plug).

    In Particular:

    Most Diesels LOVE kerosene and Jet Fuel. The “Rotary Fuel Injection Pump” on domestics like GM products require 1 qt of motor oil be added to each tank of fuel (Humvees in military use on Jet Fuel), but many with Bosche injection pumps (inline) do not care. (My Mercedes 300TD manual said to run 1/2 Kerosene in winter…)

    On the flip side, folks have run Vegetable Oil. (I have). This is NOT “Bio-Diesel”, B.D. is an alcohol ester of the fatty acids on oils, we’ll get to that below… There are 2 problems with Vegetable Oil:

    1) Ever put olive oil in the fridge and find that after a few days it is sludge on the way to solid? Vegetable oils are heavier and thicker and set up to solid at higher temperatures than #2. They make a cloud of little solid bits that clog up your fuel filter in winter and then you can’t start.

    2) The thicker oil does not make the right spray pattern, so it tends to carbon up the engine in prolonged use (and start harder when cold).

    These problems can be “got around” fairly easily. Most folks running straight V.O. (or UCO Used Cooking Oil often including animal fats) add a fuel heating system to their vehicle. Heating tape on the fuel lines, heated fuel filter, etc. In general, I don’t recommend it, but if that’s the only choice…

    Almost as easy, and a LOT more engine friendly, is make it into Bio-Diesel. You can use either methanol or ethanol for this, though methanol is better. Worst case is you get E85 and extract the E from it to get plain gas + ethanol ;-) Mix 19% alcohol with 1% lye and 80% oils. Stir a little bit with warming (just a bit over room temperature is enough for Methanol. Ethanol needs about 90 F.)

    The lye is just a catalyst and settles out to the bottom. The remainder separates into a Glycerin layer (dispose of as road oil, or burn it) and a bio-diesel layer (methyl-esters or ethyl-esters). It is GREAT Diesel fuel. Again, the only real issue is that some fats with very long heavy fatty acids will cloud up in winter at about -10F (varies with the source oil) and clog fuel filters, but -10 F is a lot better than +40 F ;-) Blending this with some kerosene tends to fix that anyway and you can easily test any batch in your fridge to find the right blend.

    As long as there are jet airplanes and cooking oil, you can have fuel. I’ve made biodiesel in my kitchen (2 qts – test sample) and it isn’t hard at all. It is best if after you make it you test the pH, neutralize it if needed, and filter through a commercial Diesel filter.

    Kerosene can be used to “cut” straight vegetable oil and that works OK. I did a series of tests on it. THE most extreme was a gallon can of Crisco Shortening and a LOT of kerosene (1 or 2 gallons I think it was…) but I got it dissolved and ran on it, just to prove a point. (International Harvester Scout…) So in a real pinch you can just blend Jet-A and Soybean oil about 1:1 and run.

    Lamp Oil is also a very nice Diesel Fuel. On one occasion at about 6000 ft elevation and about 10 F that night, having arrived with #2 in the tank, my Mercedes Wagon did not want to start the next morning. After about 15 minutes of trying stuff, and having sput sput grrrrrr gggrrrrrr sput, it “lit off” with some spray starter in the air intake. I then drove about 2 miles to the open hardware store and, without shutting it off, bought 2 gallons of lamp oil and dumped those in. As I’d arrived with about 4 gallons of #2 left in the tank (and didn’t do my “usual” fill up with #1 and drive 10 miles on arrival…) that made my mix about 2/3 #2 and a good approximation of 1/3 #1. We then went skiing. Later that afternoon it started FINE and ran fine back to the hotel, and then I went and filled up with local winterized Diesel.

    There’s a bunch of other exotica you can do, but those are the first things to go for. Like #2 home heating oil. Basically #2 Diesel without as much filtering done. Run it through a 5 to 10 micron filter. And pay your road taxes… I’ve run Propane in the air intake as a “co fuel” . On Cummins this can knock in some engines. 2 Issues: Box air heater instead of glow plugs. Mercedes has a “pre-combustion” design that’s more Funny Fuel friendly than TDI / swirl chamber direct injection. So only test co-fuels at LOW percentages first. The Mercedes can go up to about 80% Propane as could the Nissan in the I.H., others not so much. Natural Gas is higher octane and works better. You just keep the gas mix lean enough to not self ignite and then the Diesel Injection times the ignition… I did the same thing with Methanol in the air intake of my Volvo Penta boat motor. This needs fuels up around 120 Octane to not pre-ignite on compression, so regular gasoline does’t cut it…

    There’s a whole laundry list of other fuels that can be run in Diesels with some mechanical playing. DME (Di-Methyl-Ether) being one in commercial use. Pretty much any oily hydrocarbon with the right viscosity range and high tendency to burn on injection (good Cetane number); or where a ignition system is added (i.e. a sparker in the chamber). Or mixes of them that get it right.

    FWIW, my 240D manual said to run up to 25% RUG Regular Unleaded Gasoline in winter to winterize the fuel. I’ve done it. Though the addition of ethanol since the car was made reduces the percentage you can run. Found this out one trip to Florida. I’d run 30% before, but ended up trying to get started by the side of the road…. Eventually started and I filled with #2 at the next opportunity. Now I’d likely not try over 20% and I’d work up to that by 5% increments. Stoddard Solvent / Coleman Fuel ought to work better in this capacity as it will not have octane enhancers in it, nor the alcohol.

    Can you guess why I’m keeping my 240 D as the “EOTWAWKI” Car? And looking for a Diesel Truck from YesterYear with a Bosche injection pump / linear / and Ricardo Pre-combustion Chamber or indirect injection type of design? (Be forewarned: There’s now a Ricardo Diesel company that makes engines that is Chinese… I’m talking about the English early 1900’s era designer )

    The recent trendy common rail direct injection computer controlled things are much more fussy about fuel and some of them will just administratively shut down your engine if the fuel is not in factory spec, regardless of how well it might work. Things like any alcohol or water detected or viscosity “out of spec”. So in any new vehicle of that type, I’d stick with kerosene / motor oil blends until proven that other stuff would work.

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    Hydrogen planes… Works well… didn’t we do something like that once?

    I know, we could make the fuel tank a BIG Bag of hydrogen over the passenger compartment. Use a very light aluminum skeleton to give it a bit of rigidity. If you made that big enough, it would even float in the air all by itself. It could just sit there in the air while ground crews pulled it to a docking tower…

    But watch out for lightning or static discharge sparks, it might start the thing on fire, and then, “Oh, The Humanity!”…

    I note in passing that the Space Shuttle ran on hydrogen. It also had a Giant Orange Fuel Tank to carry enough of it…

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    Yes, they are doing a big Bum’s Rush on the Fear Porn. Not letting go of the narrative.

    I suspect they can feel success at tying up the global economy and can see it is “now or never” so all the stops are pulled out.

    We’ll see if freedom wins / survives / or dies in the next couple of years, I think.

  11. jim2 says:

    EMS – The real irony watching a steady feed of news on Bloomberg is that you have the “green” topics interspersed with the “European Energy Crisis” topics. It’s so much fun to watch! Unicorn dreams vs stark reality.

  12. Ossqss says:

    I hope it works.

  13. Terry Jackson says:

    Bluebird? Look here:
    One for sale near Jacksonville, plus others.

  14. Graeme No.3 says:

    Sulphuric acid (or most other acids) would act as catalysts for biofuel production. More expensive, although convenient, is acidic ion exchange granules.
    Re different fuels etc. I remember one Coast Watcher reminiscing about WW2 when they used an old launch with an old diesel – no spark plug, just a hot ball; heat to red hot and install in piston top and away you go. They ran on whatever fuel they could get with much being coconut ‘oil’ (being in the tropics it was liquid). He pointed out that when the ‘hot ball’ cooled off it had to be removed and heated, and this was a cause of anxiety when the boat was in the middle of a bay under fire from the Japanese. Fortunately at night and they proved to be lousy shots.
    From memory the advantage of the first diesel motor was that it could run on just about anything, not refined petroleum. Rudolf Diesel disappeared overboard one night and you can imagine the conspiracy theories.

  15. DonM says:

    I think California needs to pay attention to the electric car energy use.

    No electric car should be able to accelerate “too fast”. Nor should they be able to travel over 80 mph.

    Think of the energy savings. And will cost next to nothing to program the cars for such performance.

  16. H.R. says:

    @ DonM

    They can market the California version as the Tesla Turd.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @Graeme No. 3:

    The first Diesel ran on “Ground Nut Oil” i.e. peanut oil. I’ve wanted to buy one of the old design motors from India for a long time… they run on it too…. One Cylinder thumpa thumpa motors…


    How about not over 55? That was a national LAW once, so it must be good ;-)

    @Terry Jackson:

    Looks like it requires a “Log In” or some such… so I’ll just wait and look on open sites.

  18. Alexander Kendall says:

    EM, your comments re traveling in big vans reminds of a coleague years ago who drive a big BMC sedan that had a largeish 6 cyl. gasolene-powered Rolls Royce engine. He was a retired aero engineer, who knew a bit about vibration and what it does to Humans and to structures. He always used an in-car comms system when traveling with his wife, which used large hi-fi quality headsets to block out chassis noise, particularly at low frequencies, which he regarded as extremely debilitating. His wife told me that she was always quite fresh and rested at the end of their day-long journeys.

  19. p.g.sharrow says:
    lots of places that welcome RV visitors

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