On Thursday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved new regulations that requires automakers to sell more electric commercial trucks with the ultimate aim of all new trucks sold in California being zero-emission by 2045.
New CARB truck emission standards
Under the new “advanced clean trucks” rule, the number of new zero emission electric trucks would increase each year beginning in 2024. By 2035, the rule has a target of 40% of tractor trailers, 55% of pickup trucks, and 75% of delivery vans be zero emission. All government-owned trucks would also need to be electric by 2035.
Every car company in California will also have to have an electric or hydrogen-powered option by 2024, with CARB currently aiming for net-zero emissions in California by 2050.
Under these rules, the share of total electric trucks would go from under 1% in 2020 to at least 15% by 2045. CARB also noted that the plan would also create thousands of new jobs in California, as well as significantly improve the air-quality in California, which is currently one of the worst in the nation.
The rules are also expected to continue California’s lead in electric car sales. Half of all electric cars in the United States are currently sold in California.
Support for the new standards
Most people testifying at Thursday’s CARB meeting were supportive of the new rules, with many citing bad air pollution, health problems caused by auto emissions, and the lack of electric options.
Some, such as Governor Gavin Newsom, were not present but gave statements.
“California is once again leading the nation in the fight to make our air cleaner, becoming the first place in the world to mandate zero emission trucks by 2045,” said Governor Newsom on Thursday. “Communities and children of color are often forced to breathe our most polluted air, and today’s vote moves us closer toward a healthier future for all of our kids.”
Others noted the positive changes it would bring.
“For those of us old enough, we remember the haze that was thick as fog in Los Angeles in the 70’s and 80’s,” noted environmental activist Rick Patton. “Look at what 40 years did. Between now and 2025, we’re going to see the same night and day changes with regulations like these.”
“And less people getting sick from pollution means less people in hospitals too. This is that big. We’ve gone from being so choked by highways that there used to be one ringing the Embarcadero up in San Francisco to today when we just pretty much set the standard for clean cars in the country.”
Other environmental groups praised the higher standards.
“This is certainly a landmark rule,” noted American director of the International Council on Clean Transportation Nic Lutsey. “No government in the world has a direct requirement for electric trucks.”
Limited opposition against new regulations
While there was mostly support behind the new rules, thoso who opposed the regulations noted the projected rise in need of charging stations and electricity to meet the new demand.
“There are other factors here on why this isn’t that good for California, but I think pointing to the electric need is most hypocritical,” said transportation advisor Danny Guzman. “Most of the electricity in California comes from natural gas, which while not as bad a polluter as oil or gasoline, still pollutes. So it’s just trading a bad type of pollution for a slightly less worse one, but since electricity need goes up with all of this, it may not even add up to the difference.”
“I will say we need more electric, but we should have found out more about future power needs, especially in more rural areas, before passing this.”
The new CARB regulations are set to begin in 2024, with companies likely to begin bringing new electric vehicles to California in the next four years to meet the expected demand.