Looking to the future of on-highway transport
The trucking industry has and continues to invest significantly in technologies that will vastly improve the environmental impact of medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) are the future of our industry, and the path to achieving significant usage requires a practical approach to technology development, infrastructure expansion and public investment.
California is a leader, yet every state is unique
With more registered vehicles than any other U.S. state and a unique set of air-quality issues, California has an outsized influence on vehicle emission regulations.
In 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved new, ambitious NOx emission regulations, as well as an Advanced Clean Truck regulation mandating an annual increasing percentage of zero-emissions truck sales. Several states have taken steps or announced their intentions to adopt California's regulations. Nevertheless, they were developed for California’s particular circumstances, and:
Do not consider the availability of necessary infrastructure required for widespread utilization of ZEVs
Set exemptions and targets based on California’s unique fleet composition.
Do not address the emissions created by the large number of out-of-state trucks moving through most other states
Would significantly raise the cost of new diesel trucks in states that impose regulations different from federal standards
Create costs which typically outweigh benefits by a ratio of 8:1 State-by-state adoption of CARB’s regulations risks a patchwork of regulations across the country, which would undermine the effectiveness of state environmental and economic goals.
A complex transition to zero-emissions vehicles
In 2020, CARB approved the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulation with the goal of achieving NOx and GHG emissions reductions by mandating an increasing percentage of zero-emissions trucks sold each year after 2024.
In 2021, CARB announced that it plans to propose significant changes to the existing ACT Rule and would require 100% of medium- and heavy-duty trucks sales be ZEVs by 2040. It also announced a delay for passing a corresponding Advanced Clean Fleet (ACF) regulation mandating ZEV truck purchases.
For other states considering adoption of California's regulations, it makes sense to wait until they are finalized in order to consider the full scope of the provisions being adopted. There is simply too much at stake to make commitments with significant impact on state businesses and employees without fully understanding the ACT and ACF Rule’s impacts.
States considering adoption of these regulations should instead look to the EPA’s new, pending federal heavy-duty vehicle standards, while continuing to support the deployment of medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs through incentive-based programs and the development of the necessary refueling and recharging infrastructure to enable their adoption.