The California Air Resources Commission (CARB) has passed a new rule that says all commercial trucks and trucks sold in the state in 2045 must be zero-emissions to free the industry from the dirty and harmful diesel engines that currently power those vehicles,media The Verge reported. It’s the first of its kind in the U.S., and California’s decision in 2018 to require transportation agencies to start buying all-electric buses and a long-standing zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) program for passenger cars and trucks starts in 2029.
California needs to reach other milestones before it can be achieved. California regulators require that half of all trucks sold in the state be zero-emissions by 2035, and that short-haul vehicles at all ports and railroadyards must be zero by 2035. All short-haul transport vehicles at ports and railway sites must also achieve zero emissions by 2035, while all last-kilometre delivery trucks and trucks must achieve zero emissions by 2040. Smaller sales requirements will take effect as early as 2024.
This is a bold move that should help curb one of the most polluting sectors in the transport industry. Although only 7 percent of California’s roads are vehicles, diesel trucks account for 70 percent of the state’s smoke pollution and 80 percent of diesel soot emissions, according to CARB. California’s new rules could also have wider implications, thanks to its role as a standard-setter for clean air regulations. So far, 14 other states have adopted their progressive ZEV program for passenger cars, which was launched in the early 1990s and has spurred automakers to develop hybrid and all-electric vehicles. And last year, California set its own rules in the face of the Trump administration’s reversal of Obama-era fuel economy standards aimed at combating the climate crisis, which Ford, Volkswagen, BMW and Honda have all signed up to.
With that in mind, California says it is already in talks with seven states and the District of Columbia, which are likely to adopt new zero-emission truck rules, the New York Times reported. The new commercial transportation rules also represent a step forward in the fight for environmental justice, as air pollution from delivery hubs and ports disproportionately hurts California’s black, Asian and Latino communities.
“For decades, while cars have become cleaner and more efficient, the other half of our transportation system has done little to clean the air,” Mary Nichols, carB’s director, said in a statement. “Diesel cars are the backbone of the economy, and we need them to be part of the dirty air that continues to be fused in some of our most vulnerable communities. “
Truck industry groups have hit back at CARB’s rule. But many manufacturers already have zero-emission trucks and trucks on the road, and many more are coming soon. They are being developed and designed by established companies such as Daimler, Tesla, Volvo and China’s BYD, as well as start-ups such as Chanje, Arrival, Nikola and Rivian, which are building 100,000 electric delivery vehicles for Amazon.