California Banning Diesel Trucks

( – HAPPENING NOW: With a decision that has angered the trucking industry and many conservatives, California has decided to all but eliminate diesel trucks and, eventually, any fossil-fueled trucks.

As reported by CNBC and other sources, on Friday, California regulators decided to prohibit the sale of new diesel big rigs by 2036 and require all trucks to be zero-emissions by 2042. The California Air Resources Board unanimously approved the Advanced Clean Fleets rule, making it the world’s first to mandate new commercial trucks, including garbage trucks, delivery trucks, and other medium and heavy-duty vehicles, to be electric. This places California at the forefront of reducing national tailpipe pollution.

Supporters of the rule argue that it will improve public health in marginalized communities that have suffered from polluted air while also addressing the effects of climate change. The mandate is expected to provide $26.5 billion in public health benefits in California by preventing health impacts and deaths related to diesel pollution.

Heavy-duty trucks are responsible for nearly one-third of the state’s nitrogen oxide emissions and over one-quarter of its fine particle pollution from diesel fuel. Although medium and heavy-duty trucks make up just 10% of the country’s vehicles, they produce 25% of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit.

Andrea Vidaurre, senior policy analyst for the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice, said, “Frontline communities across California who breathe in deadly diesel pollution every day can finally get some relief with the Advanced Clean Fleets rule. There is no acceptable level of exposure to deadly diesel pollution — so it has got to go, for the sake of our health and our lungs.”

However, major truck manufacturers and their lobbying groups have vehemently opposed the regulations, claiming that electric models are more expensive than diesel trucks and the requirements are costly. Converting large trucks to electric models is more expensive than smaller vehicles due to their size and weight.

The trucking industry also argues that the deadlines are unrealistic given the lack of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and available space at ports.

The mandate requires companies with 50 or more trucks to convert their fleets to electric or hydrogen models and achieve zero emissions by 2042. The earliest deadline applies to drayage trucks, which transport cargo to and from major ports. These trucks must be converted to electric models by 2035, and new sales starting in 2024 must be zero-emissions. Vehicles like garbage trucks and school buses must be zero-emissions by 2027.

California had requested waivers from the Clean Air Act to establish stricter standards than the federal government for heavy-duty vehicles. California’s more stringent tailpipe emissions rules will likely have broader effects beyond the state and may encourage other states to follow suit. New York, New Jersey, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Colorado have already adopted California’s Advanced Clean Trucks rule.

California has committed to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2045. This mandate follows a historic rule adopted the day before to limit emissions from diesel-powered trains. Last year, the state banned the sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting in 2035.